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3 SOPS Airman running for vets

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "When I set my mind to something, I run with it," said Staff Sgt. Jesse Baker.

Baker, 3rd Space Operations Squadron maintenance technician, literally meant he runs with it. Baker has been following through with his New Year's resolution by training to run a marathon except now he's not just doing it for himself he's doing it for a great cause.

"During one of my runs I asked myself, 'why not run for a cause'?" Baker said. "It was then that I decided to run for a charity."

Baker researched local charities and decided to donate to The Home Front Cares, a local non-profit organization that provides emergency and responsive support and grants for Colorado's service members, veterans and family members.

According to their website, THFC began in 2003 as an all-volunteer initiative led by two retired Air Force colonels who are also Vietnam Veterans. In their first year of operation the organization provided more than $34,000 in aid to military families in the Pikes Peak region.

"My ultimate goal is to raise $1,000 and, to date, I've raised $515," said Baker. "Who knows, one day I may need help myself."

He said knowing he's already more than halfway to his goal is an amazing feeling.
"I never thought I'd even get close (to my goal)," Baker said. "I would've been happy to raise $50 let alone $500. I know the money I raised will go far."

Baker said as a military member he understands the importance of helping veterans who are struggling which is why he wants to give back to those who need it. He also believes running for a purpose has helped him on his journey.

"Maybe if I wasn't running for a cause I wouldn't be as motivated," added Baker. "On those days when I'm tired or the weather is bad I am pushed to keep going."

It also doesn't hurt to have people cheering you on. Baker has a supporting wife (Samantha) and a daughter (Hailey) who encourage him on all his endeavors especially this one. Not to mention the 456 Facebook friends who have contributed to his cause.

"I am really proud of him and his determination," said Samantha. "It's something really important to him therefore it's really important to me."

Samantha said her husband is also setting a good example to their daughter.

"Maybe one day it'll motivate and encourage Hailey," Samantha said. "She'll think to herself my dad did this maybe I should do something as well."

The staff sergeant said running has helped him in more ways than one.

"I can put on my shorts, my running shoes, concentrate on my breathing and just go," he said. "It's just peaceful. I didn't always have that but, now I do."

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