KODIAK — It was a shot heard around the world.
On Aug. 6, a fighter in Afghanistan fired a rocket-propelled grenade and brought down an American helicopter.
Onboard were 38 Afghan and U.S. service members, including 22 U.S. Navy SEALs. All were killed when the helicopter crashed.
Many of those 22, men like Petty Officer 1st Class Jesse Pittman, trained at the Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Training Center Detachment on Spruce Cape, and their deaths were felt on an island halfway around the world from
In response, the wives of several Kodiak-based SEALs and training center employees came up with the 22 Hero’s 5K, a fun run to raise money for the Navy SEAL Foundation, which supports the families of injured or killed special warfare service members.
“A group of the Navy wives, some of us work out together and we felt a need to support our Navy family,” said Heather, a SEAL wife who asked that her last name not be used.
The group chose a 5K because of Kodiak’s well known support for running events and because it would allow people to come out with children, dogs and spouses.
“When we were making bib numbers (Saturday night), we were like, ‘Let’s just do 100 just to be sure.’ That’s pretty cocky of us to think there’s going to be that many people,” said Lindsey Jacoby, one of the race organizers.
On Sunday afternoon, almost 250 people gathered under a cloudy but dry sky at the Kodiak High School parking lot to run or simply drop off a donation.
“I think this is the biggest race we’ve had (in Kodiak) for a while,” said Howard Valley, a Kodiak resident and avid runner.
Ariana Miller, who came to the event with her husband Steven and daughter Naomi, said, “It came from our heart to give something to the people who have lost so much.”
Others expressed similar feelings as they waited in a queue that snaked across the high school’s parking lot for almost half an hour after the race’s scheduled start time.
“This is more than we ever could have imagined,” Jacoby said.
Around the lot, members of SEAL Qualification Class 287, now in training at Spruce Cape, mingled with their instructors and Kodiak residents as they waited for the race to start.
Several declined to go on the record but said they knew men killed in the Aug. 6 crash.
“Our community’s so small, everyone knows everyone else,” one SEAL said.
Judging from the crowd at the high school, much the same can be said of Kodiak. Some attending said they heard about the fun run from friends. Others said they read about it on Facebook or in the newspaper. Almost everyone delivered more than the suggested $22 donation to register.
When the finally tally came in, the event had raised $7,862.
“We were expecting $1,000, and even that … we were going to be blown away if we got a thousand. This is beyond, beyond our wildest imagination,” Jacoby said.
“Thank you to Kodiak and everyone who came out to support these families,” she said. “We’re so grateful. I don’t even really have words.”
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at editor@kodiak