Trail runners, lace up your sneakers.
Fort Atkinson American Legion and Auxiliary Post 348 will host its fourth Storm the Fort Veterans 5K fundraiser June 15 starting at 9:30 a.m.. Proceeds from the run will go to Omaha's Javelan, Inc., a nonprofit organizations that provides service dogs to military veterans.
Additional donations will be accepted in addition to the cost to sign up for the race. The Legion and Auxiliary will also donate money to Javelan. In the past, proceeds from Storm the Fort have gone to Vets4Vets, Victory Apartments and AtEase.
"Part of our creed is to help veterans," Legion member and run organizer John Linton said. "A lot of time we're doing dinners. We run these, and it's a way to give back to the community."
The course will start inside the Fort Atkinson, skirting the park grounds through a mix of trails. It will extend to through the wooded "bottoms" and traverse the bluff back to the fort. Trails will be a mixture of grass, gravel, pavement and dirt. There will also be a stroller friendly 3K walk course.
"(The course) gives everyone a chance to get off the usual trails, see a unique area of the fort and around the bluffs," Linton said. "It's a beautiful place."
Linton said Javelan is a unique organization compared to many dog training operations. Dog training at many places will last multiple years and could cost $15,000 to $20,000 before the dog meets its owner, he said. Javelan, however, pairs puppies with veterans before the dog is a year old.
"The vet gets to understand the dog, and the dog understands the vet," Linton said.
The cost to train a Javelan dog is also much less at around $2,500. Javelan adopts dogs from shelters or rescue centers.
"They don't wait for high-priced pure breeds," Linton said.
Linton said the run is simply a run, without much extra fanfare, but people are welcome to visit the fort after the race or visit with Javelan representatives who will have a booth set up.
"We don't offer a lot of frills, but it's for a good cause," he said. "We're thankful for all the help we get."
Runners can sign up for Storm the Fort at runsignup.com/Race/NE/FortCalhoun/StormTheFort5K. Anyone with questions can also call 402-616-7388 or 402-468-4517.