Second Willie McCabe Memorial 5K run to support homeless veterans

After last year’s success, the son of a homeless veteran is asking veteran supporters to run for a cause again.

The second annual Willie McCabe Memorial 5K Run and Walk is taking place on Sunday, November 13, Bay Ridge community activist Liam McCabe announced on Tuesday, October 25.

The 5K race starts out at Lookout Hill in Owl’s Head Park, located at 68th Street and Colonial Road in Bay Ridge, at 1 p.m.

“We are very excited to once again invite all members of the community, the media, runners and veteran supporters to take part in the second annual Willie McCabe Memorial Run and Walk,” McCabe said.

The event is in honor of his late father, Willie McCabe, a lifelong Brooklynite.

Willie was a Vietnam-era veteran, who served the country in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the Screaming Eagles. Afterwards, he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and alcoholism.

He was homeless from 2000 until his death from hypothermia in 2005, on a freezing Thanksgiving Day on the Bay Ridge portion of the tracks which connect Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island to New Jersey. Willie called the railyard his home.

Thus, the purpose of the Willie McCabe Memorial Run is to raise funds for veteran support services and “shed light on the plight of homeless veterans” in the community, according to McCabe.

“I know my dad would be proud of the work we are doing for veterans,” McCabe said.

The proceeds from this year’s run will go Samaritan Village, a 501c3 charity that helps New York’s homeless veterans by building homes for them.

McCabe said this year they’re hoping to raise double what was brought in last year.

Last year’s inaugural run raised over $1,000 for “Who’s Saving Who” and “Support Homeless Veterans.” “Who’s Saving Who” trains rescue dogs to help veterans cope with disabilities and PTSD. “Support Homeless Veterans” helps veterans find shelter.

Supporters can sign up on the race’s Eventbrite page to run, walk, sponsor or volunteer at the event.

“We’ve got about 20 runners committed,” Liam said. “We had about 30 runners show up last year, so we’re hoping we’ll get 30 to 50 runners this year.”

The entry fee is $20 and includes a free t-shirt, food, and live music provided by Victor V. Gurbo and Co. Sponsors can get their name or company’s name printed on the back of the shirts by paying $200. They also get a free t-shirt, a free thermal shirt and free food.

Volunteers get a free t-shirt, food and five free raffle tickets for the chance to win one of the three gift baskets.

In addition, there will be prizes for the male and female first, second and third place finishers.

“We’ve got a lot of people pitching in,” McCabe said. “It’s going to be a great event and it’s great that the people involved are committed to helping the homeless, not just the veterans.”

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