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Parks hits the trail to honor ‘Heroes’

Parks hits the trail to honor ‘Heroes’
Parks hits the trail to honor ‘Heroes’ | Parks hits the trail to honor ‘Heroes’
By CHRIS MENEES
Staff Reporter
Chuck Parks of Union City is about to take running to the extreme — for a good cause with a local connection.
Parks will hit the trail to run this weekend in the 60-mile Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race to raise funds for One Team One Fight and the 31 Heroes Project.
One Team One Fight is a partnership between the Navy SEAL Foundation and the 31 Heroes Project — which exists to honor the fallen heroes killed in action Aug. 6, 2011, in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan through fitness and to raise funds for programs that provide support to families of all fallen military heroes.
Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, a native of Obion County and a 1999 graduate of Obion County Central High School, was among the troops who died Aug. 6, 2011.
The joint mission in-volving One Team One Fight, the Navy SEAL Foundation and the 31 Heroes Project gives money to existing programs that support military families, both in the Naval Special Warfare community and across all military com-munities. The programs help provide support for families — including children — after they have lost a loved one, challenge grants to honor loved ones, scholarships for families and many other programs.
Vaughn left behind a wife, Kimberly, and two young children, son Reagan and daughter Chamberlyn.
The 38-year-old Parks has run many ultra marathons, but he said the race to be run Friday, Saturday and Sunday has special significance because of the connection to Vaughn and the opportunity to help the 31 Heroes Project.
Parks is a junior high social studies teacher and basketball coach at Ridge-mont Elementary School, where Vaughn’s aunt, Kelly (Vaughn) Preuett, also teaches. She was aware of Parks’ participation in ultra marathons and told him about the 31 Heroes Project.
He noted One Team One Fight is dedicated to honoring military service members through fitness activities, such as endurance runs, cycling events, CrossFit workouts and many more athletic endeavors.
All of the money raised by athletes will go directly to the 31 Heroes Project and Parks emphasized his participation in this weekend’s extreme endurance run should focus more on Vaughn and his sacrifice for his country.
“This isn’t about me, it’s about the cause,” he said.
Parks and other runners are seeking donations from their communities. Donations may be made through the 31 Heroes Project’s website at http://www.31heroes.com/support-a-otof-athlete/. There, donors can “choose the athlete you’d like to sponsor” and then scroll down to make a selection before entering a donation amount. Parks is listed as a participant for the Chattanooga race.
The Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race is a 60-mile trail running event done over three days in the beautiful mountains surrounding Chattanooga. The challenging series includes 18 miles on Raccoon Mountain the first day; 22 miles on Lookout Mountain the second day; and a 20-mile grand finale on Signal Mountain the third day. The terrain will be both rocky and vertical, including over 5,000 feet of elevation gain and several creek crossings.
Parks said he has been training for the race and working up to the 60 miles which will be run over the three-day event. In the past, he was able to complete 72 miles of a 100-mile race.
“This will be my first stage race, but I have completed several 50-mile single day ultra marathons,” said Parks, a 1992 graduate of Obion County Central High School, where he also coaches track and cross country. “These kind of events are extreme endurance and should allow you to make a good connection to situations Aaron Vaughn and Navy SEALs encountered.”
For more information about the 31 Heroes Project, visit the website www.31heroes.com.
Published in The Messenger 6.11.12

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