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Glass City Marathon Helps to House More Heroes

The 2019 Mercy Health Glass City Marathon had more than 9,000 of people participating in their events over the weekend; a record from previous marathons, according to organizers.  

Each year, many organizations apply to be beneficiaries of the marathon’s fundraising efforts. The Veterans Matter National Housing Program is one such beneficiary.  

At the leadership of Shannon Nowak, National Housing Advocate, the VM National Housing Program received nearly $2,500 in donations, enough to house three veteran heroes and their families 

Shannon also represented the VM National Housing Program as a participant, completing the full marathon – a whopping 26.2 miles. Shannon said, “Running the Glass City Marathon is very near and dear to my heart.  I love seeing our community come together to cheer people on, their energy can really make a difference. 

VM National Housing Program and 1Matters representatives along with University of Toledo Army ROTC cadets ran Water Stop #17, one of the last stops for the runners on their 26-mile journey. “These cadets are the future of our armed services. We are very grateful to be helping alongside them to keep these runners safe and hydrated while working to place more veterans in safe, secure, permanent housing,” said Ken Leslie, Advocate-in-Chief.

Shawn Clark, VM National Housing Program Director, was also at Water Stop #17 cheering on the runners as they neared the finish line. She said, “We were there to encourage the runners as they made that last leg of the run. We were so thankful to be joined by the ROTC cadets and our 1Matters team in supporting the runners and helping to end veteran homelessness.” 

This was Shannon’s second year participating in the marathon, one of the top 25 qualifiers for the Boston Marathon. Unfortunately, during training, Shannon developed a stress fracture. She said, “It really reminds you that running is a lot like life.  You are going to have great days, and you are going to face challenges.  How you handle those challenges, is what defines you.  You can give up or you can show up. I choose to show up!” 

Shannon finished the whole race and helped three more veterans and their families get off the streets and into permanent housing. Her story is a testament to the Power of 1. It’s the power to raise yourself and others up to achieve what might seem impossible.  

On behalf of everyone at the Veterans Matter National Housing Program, thank you to all involved in the Glass City Marathon, especially our very own Shannon Nowak, for inspiring us all to give our personal best and to continue in the fight to end veteran homelessness.