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Event brings vets to forefront

November 13, 2005|By Candice Bosely

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Corky Wilt is in a wheelchair after having a stroke, but wouldn't let anyone help him Saturday during the sixth annual Road to Freedom 5k Walk, Run or Roll event.

Instead, he used one arm to maneuver his wheelchair along the 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) course at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, taking a little more than an hour and five minutes to finish.

The event drew 107 runners and another 40 or so people who walked or rolled on part or all of the course. Members of Martinsburg High School's swim team pushed wheelchair patients through as much of the course as the patient wanted, said Don Stevens, supervisor of recreation therapy for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The course began and ended on the center's grounds off W.Va. 9 east of Martinsburg, while a portion of it was off the center's land.

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The event is a way to showcase veterans, Stevens said.

"Bringing veterans to the forefront," he said.

Although initially intended as a fundraiser, proceeds now go back into the event, including for T-shirts, door prizes and refreshments.

A cookout for veterans also was held.

Stevens said he was pleased with the turnout.

"I would say this was one of our best years yet," he said.

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