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November 11, 2013

Fraternity walks for warriors

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — A SUNY Oneonta fraternity has raised at least $500 in a Walking for Warriors event this weekend, brothers said Sunday.

The family-friendly 5K run/walk in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park on Saturday was part of an initiative to recognize Greek-life alumni in the military, said Peter Hillowe, a senior at the State University College at Oneonta and a member of Chi Phi Fraternity’s Zeta Theta Chapter.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. The mission of WWP, now recognizing its 10th anniversary, is to honor and empower wounded warriors.

About 50 participants were pre-registered for the 5K and another 100 or so signed up Saturday morning, Hillowe said. The course looped through Neahwa Park, he said, and about 40 participants ran and 80 walked in the untimed event that was offered to salute and support military personnel past and present.

Some police officers and firefighters participated, Hillowe said, public relations chairman for the fraternity, and they along with SUNY Oneonta Greeks and military and emergency service personnel were registered free of charge.

Chi Phi Oneonta is collecting donations until Thursday, when the fraternity will announce results at a meeting of the college’s Inter-Greek Council, Hillowe said. The chapter will present a plaque with the names of six SUNY Oneonta graduates who participated in campus-recognized Greek-life organizations and went on to join the armed services, he said.

The graduates include five men and one woman, Hillowe said. The “IGC America” program will be in the Hunt College Union at 6 p.m.

The graduates and their affiliations include from Chi Phi, Nicholas Stucko and Danny Mitz in the Navy, Brian Wilson in the Marine Corps, and Sean O’Brien in the Air Force; from Sigma Sigma Sigma, Lisa Holsberger in the Navy; and from Zeta Beta Tau, Richard Chamberlain in the Army.

Hillowe said the 5K run/walk and the “IGC America” events were his ideas, inspired by knowing Wilson, who served in Afghanistan this past year. Chi Phi Oneonta and the IGC supported and helped implement the projects, Hillowe said.

Chi Phi Oneonta has 44 members, plus seven en route to initiation as members, Hillowe said.

The fraternity held a 9/11 candlelight vigil to “pay tribute to fallen heroes and those who continue to fight for our freedom,” the chapter’s Facebook page said. 

Hillowe said Anthony Messino, Chi Phi community service chairman, was instrumental in setting up the vigil and Halloween activities for the Oneonta Boys & Girls Club.

Remy Gautreau, 21, a senior member of Chi Phi Oneonta, said the Walking for Warriors turnout, which included area residents and college students, was “great.” Gautreau, a music industry major, said he volunteered to help direct runners during the event.

“I thought it was phenomenal,” Gautreau said.

Presenting the event in Neahwa Park was an important community-oriented step, Hillowe said, and the Oneonta Common Council, which had to approve the group’s use of city facilities, was very receptive.

“We try to do good for the community,” Hillowe said. 

The fraternity plans to offer Walking for Warriors annually, he said, and build upon this year’s results.

“It definitely was a very successful first, annual,” he said.