Ozarks Life: Nixa pair making sure military families are recognized
The Hero 5K Fun Run was created in less than five weeks.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Sitting in his Christian County home, Aaron Fleming is at peace. In the middle of tying a fly is about as far as one can get from the Middle East.
Aaron served a decade in the Marines, retiring with combat related injuries.
“It’s almost hard to understand the sacrifice some of our service members go through,” Jason Massengale said.
Massengale admires Aaron’s service. And while the real estate broker always respected the military, it wasn’t until his son joined the Army that he understood first hand the sacrifice of our military and their families.
“Watching my daughter-in-law go through the birth without him and then the birth, with COVID, he couldn’t come home,” Massengale said, “I was more aware of the sacrifice the military. We started talking about it here at the office, Aaron’s wife is a team member here.”
Jason and Aaron teamed up to make sure military families knew how much they meant to their community.
“We came up with this idea, and five weeks we had the run,” Massengale said. “It wasn’t like we thought of it for a year... it was five weeks.”
After speaking with police to get a course laid out and city council to approve it, the Hero Run 5K was born in November. Twenty-three area businesses supported this start-up fundraiser.
“It’s an obstacle course,” Massengale said. “We had drill sergeants to give the community a chance to see what (service members) go through in boot camp.”
“Having this awareness of our military and the sacrifices that military families have made right here in Nixa,” Fleming said, “it brings everybody back to together into ‘we are actually all one’ community.”
The money raised from the 5K created a scholarship for an area, military kid. This spring they gave it to Olivia Engleman whose essay on heroes stood out.
“It’s very encouraging to me,” Fleming said.
“Create the world you want to live in,” Massengale said.
In just five weeks Jason and Aaron made a difference.
They’re already thinking about this fall’s Hero Run and what they could add along side the scholarship to make it even more impactful.
“We want half of the proceeds to go to a veteran who wants to start a business in Christian County,” Massengale said.
“It puts their family and service, who we are here, into the spotlight,” Fleming said.
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