CINCINNATI -- Runners, walkers and people who wanted to say "thank you" gathered downtown Saturday for a first of its kind event designed to empower the men and women who’ve served their country.
A motorcycle ride kicked off the inaugural Disabled American Veterans (DAV) 5K, which began at Sawyer Point on Pete Rose Way and went through a 3.1-mile stretch of downtown Cincinnati.
The event's namesake, Disabled American Veterans , is a nonprofit organization that wants to use the run/walk event to both honor the nation’s veterans and raise awareness for veterans’ issues and programs. Based out of the Tri-State, DAV helps more than 300,000 veterans nationwide receive services and benefits every year.
Event organizers focused this year's event on both physical and mental help for service members coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"By doing four, five six tours, that takes a toll, psychologically, mentally, emotionally," said Bobby Barrera, who served in Vietnam. "That's one focus we have is getting the medical treatment, the psychological treatment that is required, that becomes a priority for us at this time."
Recent estimates show that there are more than 26 million veterans nationwide but only about 8 million of them utilize services offered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
While the DVA wants to focus on the needs of veterans across the country, the need to aid local veterans is key issue for the group.
According to information from the Strategies to End Homelessness, while only 3.1 percent of adults in Hamilton County are veterans, 13 percent of homeless adults are veterans.
You can find out more information about the organization and show your support for our troops at the following link: