Going the extra mile(s)

Alisa Boswell

Members of an Eastern New Mexico University fraternity will take turns this weekend lugging a football more than 90 miles to help families of wounded soldiers.

About 15 members of the local Kappa Sigma chapter have been gearing up with nightly jogs to once again participate in the Run for the Heroes campaign, which raises money for the families of injured military personnel.

Local Theta Zeta chapter Vice President Zane Dalton said last year, he ran for 13 hours.

“Is it hard? Yes. But do we believe in it? Yes. We’re tired; we’re sore, but it’s a cause that we really do believe in,” Dalton said. “The atmosphere never dies. At the beginning, everyone’s pumped up and at the end, everyone’s pumped up, because we know it’s for a good cause.”

Dalton said the fundraiser is the joint effort of the local Kappa Sigma chapter, the New Mexico State University Las Cruces chapter, Nu-Epsilon and the University of Texas at El Paso chapter, Epsilon-Xi.

The three chapters combined run 317 miles with a football to raise money for the Fisher House Foundation, which provides families of hospitalized military personnel with a place to stay.

This year, El Paso is running to Ruidoso, NMSU from Ruidoso to Roswell and ENMU the last leg.

“I’ve talked to families who have gone through similar situations of having a loved one injured in combat and just seeing the sacrifice they made and them going overseas and what they go through with their loved ones then, seeing the difference we make just by sacrificing one weekend, it’s mind blowing,” Dalton said. “And it’s (the event) sacrificing so little compared to what they sacrifice.”

Dalton said so far their chapter has raised $2,392, which doubles last year’s total and surpasses their goal of $2,000 this year. He said local Kappa Sigma members worked in conjunction with Quick Quack Car Wash in Amarillo and Lubbock on two separate occasions to raise the funds.

“Normally, we go door-to-door here in Portales, but we raised so much at the car washes, we decided that wasn’t necessary, because we didn’t want to put too much strain on our guys since we’re coming up on mid-terms,” Dalton said.

Chapter President Olin Ellsworth said Kappa Sigma members began raising money for Fisher House after they heard a story of Kappa Sigma brothers meeting each other in combat, with one saving the other’s life.

“The first year, we ran the football to El Paso and ever since then it’s been an experience that a lot of our members remember,” Ellsworth said. “It gives new members a chance to see more of the community side of our fraternity. It gives people a chance to see we’re not the stereotypical fraternity you see on TV but are community-oriented.”

Cathy Cabrey, program director for Team Fisher House, the online fundraising program, said the funds the Kappa Sigma members raise will go toward helping to build a new Fisher House Foundation in Fort Bragg, N.C.

“Raising funds and awareness are equally important,” Cabrey said. “They’re reaching beyond their minimum and we really appreciate their enthusiasm and dedication to the cause.”