Navy spouses host benefit run/walk for tsunami victims

Participants at the Kizuna 5K Fun Run/Walk event begin running to benefit the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March. The fun run was sponsored by U.S. Pacific Fleet Officers' Spouses Club. Proceeds from the fun run were donated to the American Red Cross.

Story and photo by MC2 (SW) Mark Logico

Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

Emiko Coughlin, a Navy spouse from U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMPACFLT), together with the COMPACFLT Officers’ Spouses’ Club hosted the Kizuna 5K Fun Run/Walk on May 21 to benefit those affected by the Japanese earthquake and tsunami last March.

More than 160 service members and families participated in the fun run and raised more than $4,000 in proceeds to be donated to the American Red Cross.

“I am from Sendai,” said Coughlin. “I continue to receive frequent phone calls from my parents who still live in the area. Sendai was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. Those who remain continue to face great hardship.”

“I felt strongly that I wanted to help the people of Sendai. Not only did I want to raise funds for the recovery effort, I wanted to send hope and encouragement,” Coughlin explained.

The fun run consisted of two laps around the old Ford Island runway. Participants received T-shirts after the run.

“I was able to reach out to our Hawaii ohana,” said Coughlin who was able to solicit help from several local sponsors.

James Campbell High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JCHS NJROTC) also volunteered 18 cadets for the event who assisted in setting up and directing runners around the runway.

“We’re coming out to help everyone run, basically falling in where we need to be, where they need help,” said Michael David, 16. David was the JCHS NJROTC student leader, and he said he was happy to be at the fun run to benefit Japan.

Lt. Cmdr. Dennis Wischmeier, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the first to finish the fun run. Wischmeier lived in Japan for three years, and he said the earthquake and tsunami was a devastating tragedy.

“It doesn’t matter how I finished the race, it was good to run it,” said Wischmeier. “It was for a good cause.”

The COMPACFLT Officers’ Spouses Club is a social organization designed to promote camaraderie among the officers’ spouses in all branches of the military here in Hawaii. Membership is open to spouses of active duty, reserve and retired military officers. The club organizes a variety of special interest groups designed to introduce members to recreational and cultural opportunities in Hawaii.

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Category: News