By Daniel Carde
Kinesiology sophomore Roel Gonzalez is not only running 223 miles to raise awareness of veteran suicide, he also is helping veterans by donating money to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation Oct. 14.
This is the day before he runs the 223-mile, Capital to Coast Relay from Austin to Corpus Christi.
Even though the race costs $1,200 per team, Gonzalez set up a GoFundMe page with a goal to reach $1,500 to cover the cost of the race, sports drinks, protein and nutritional bars, and the food he’ll need while competing.
Race organizers are allowing solo runners to run for free this year.
“Anybody that is that wild and crazy to be able to run 223 miles nonstop, we’ll throw you a bone,” Clint Henderson, Capital to Coast Relay’s co-director of the race, said during a phone interview Sept. 4.
When Gonzalez learned he didn’t need to pay an entry fee, he decided to give donations from his GoFundMe page, to the foundation.
“I think it’s only fair,” he said. “Everybody else has to pay. At least I can pay something.”
Proceeds from the relay race will go to the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, an organization that helps veterans.
We found, as we started doing the race, we had more and more military teams,” he said. “It just seemed more appropriate to make it to where it was benefitting the actual people who are running in the race.”
Chris Kyle, former Navy SEAL and author of “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” left the Navy in 2009 and worked with various organizations helping veterans transition home from war.
“The aim of the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation is to provide meaningful, interactive experiences to service members, first responders, and their families, aimed at enriching their family relationships,” according to the foundation’s website at www.chriskylefrogfoundation.org. Kyle was killed by Marine Corps veteran Eddie Ray Routh Feb. 2, 2013, at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, southwest of Dallas.
Routh, who is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, killed Kyle and another veteran at the range.
Routh’s legal team said he was not guilty of the murders because he is a paranoid schizophrenic, having a psychotic episode when he killed the two men, as reported by www.dallasnews.com.
As of Sept. 21, $450 has been donated by 14 people on Gonzalez’s GoFundMe page.
For more information on helping or supporting Gonzalez, contact him at 253-226-6471 or his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/roel.gonzalez.967.