Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

Project to support the wounded

5K Walk and Run is student’s senior project

By Adrienne Anderson /
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Seventeen-year-old Aireal Williams, a senior at Columbus High School, is hosting a Blue Devil Dash 5K Fun Walk and Run starting at 9 a.m. March 16 at the Manchester Expressway Park And Ride.

As part of her senior project, which is required for graduation, Aireal said she wanted to think outside the box and do something to help the military.

All proceeds from the run will go to helping wounded Soldiers on Fort Benning.

Aireal said working on such a large project, which included fundraising, T-shirt designing, media and marketing, she learned she shouldn’t procrastinate.

“When you actually have to show something, some improvement — each phase, you need to stay on it,” Aireal said. “If you can do it earlier, do that. But use your summer.”

Aireal’s mother, retired Sgt. 1st Class Mandy Blake of Springfield, Ohio, said although she supported her daughter in her project, she took on a more hands-off approach.

“She took on a very big project,” Blake said. “There’s a lot of coordination … I think at first she didn’t realize how big this was. But she’s picked up the ball and has really run with it. And the run is coming to life.”

Blake added she was proud her daughter was thinking of Soldiers who were wounded.

Constance Nesmith, MEDDAC volunteer coordinator for Martin Army Community Hospital and one of Aireal’s mentors, said she encouraged families to come out to support the run.

“She’s a great kid,” Nesmith said. “She’s been doing a lot of work on this project and what she’s doing is really going to help the community and (Soldiers) play a big part in the community. We’ve got a lot of community support and we’re hoping we get a great turnout.”

“If you don’t have anything to do, come out at 9 o’clock,” Blake said.

Registration is $12 if registered by March 2 and $15 day of event.

In order to be guaranteed a T-shirt, register by March 2. Prizes will be awarded to top three finishers in male and female categories.

To register, go to

For more information, contact Aireal at 706-577-2162.

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