Back-to-back

Runners take off at the start of Andover’s Run for the Troops Road Race in 2019, the last time the race was run in person.

ANDOVER — Bill Pennington gets emotional talking about veterans, especially those that lost their lives, limbs or suffered injuries that have forced them to struggle mentally.

“We owe them. We owe them now more than ever,” said Pennington, Andover’s Run For The Troops Road Race director and originator.

“After a long period of time of not being able to spend time with friends due to the pandemic this event, which includes the dinner (tonight),” said Pennington, “provides an opportunity to gather together and show our support for our veterans.”

The road race will be on Sunday morning in downtown Andover. The dinner will be Friday night, at the Danvers Yacht Club beginning at 6 p.m.

Last year’s virtual event helped raise money for Brandon Korona’s home in Derry, N.H. Korona was lost a leg when an I.E. bomb exploded in Afghanistan.

The new home has been a savior.

This year’s proceeds on going to support a home to be built for Rebecca Mann, who is a double amputee.

Mann will attend the dinner on Friday night in Danvers.

The Andover-based Race For Troops has annually made a donation to one of the homes being built, usually around $30,000 based on proceeds.

Last year’s event was so inspirational he wants to do better this weekend.

“My daughter, Melissa, gets credit for last year’s event,” said Pennington. “I was so discouraged, thinking I’d be giving everyone their refunds back on the race.

“She said, ‘That’s not the daddy I know. You can do better.’ It was a kick in the pant. It would have been something my mother would say, ‘Son, pick up your pants and act like a Marine!’”

The idea to make the race go virtual was huge for Sgt. Korona.

“I am so appreciative of their support for my home,” said Korona . “This allows Homes For Troops to save a little money and focus on another build. I can’t thank Bill (Pennington) enough. This means a lot to me and my wife. This really is our dream house.”

For information on the road race and dinner go to http://www.runforthetroops5k.com/.

You can email Bill Burt at bburt@eagletribune.com.

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