Township to host 5K, celebration for Veterans Day

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 2, 2015


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — As opposed to the township’s somber Memorial Day ceremony, Veterans Coordinator Phil Randazzo said Veterans Day is an occasion to have fun and celebrate veterans’ service.

On Nov. 8, the township will host its third annual Veterans Day event.

The day will kick off at noon with the Veterans Memorial Run, a 5K featuring a scenic loop around the township grounds and Mae Stecker Park. Participants can register before the race for $20 or at the event beginning at 9 a.m. for $25.

All of the proceeds will benefit the township’s veterans memorial.

Randazzo said that, as a show of gratitude, all veterans will run at no cost, thanks to Utica Van Dyke Towing.

Michael Ward, the race coordinator, said he expects 100-150 people to participate in the 5K and that he is hoping for good weather.

Immediately following the run, the public will be invited to participate in an outdoor Veterans Day celebration at the band shell on the municipal grounds.

“The event is to honor the veterans of Shelby Township and other communities, as well as our troops in the military,” Randazzo said. “We want to keep it a little more upbeat this year.”

The celebration will begin with an invocation by Jason Jackson, the pastor at Brookside Missionary Baptist Church in Shelby Township. A local Scout troop will present the colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance, Randazzo said.

Randazzo and Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis will speak briefly, and a veterans’ representative officer based out of Lansing will give an educational presentation about veteran benefits, Randazzo said.

To conclude the event, Randazzo said local singer Tracy Murray and a trio of musicians from Music Maker Studio in Shelby Township will perform patriotic tunes.

“I think (Tracy Murray) is one of the greatest female vocalists in Macomb County, and I’m a musician myself,” Randazzo said. “The entertainment is going to be great. I don’t want to drag everyone down. These are kind of kick-butt songs, but still patriotic.”

An approximately 20-person team from a Clinton Township rehabilitation clinic, made up of staff and rehabilitated runners, will participate in the Veterans Memorial Run for the first time this year.

Melissa Morabito, a patient care advocate and marketing coordinator for Empower Physical Therapy and Fitness, said she hopes to make it an annual tradition.

“We work with a lot of veterans,” she said. “For this race in particular, we are selling performance long-sleeve running shirts, and all proceeds from the month of October and November will benefit Macomb County veterans.”

For Morabito, the 5K will be a personal achievement. Since coming to work for the rehabilitation clinic, she decided she wanted to train to become a runner. The Veterans Memorial Run will be her first 5K.

“I love the running community. They are just the most amazing people I’ve ever experienced, and I’m glad to be a part of it — finally,” she said. “I think it’s really cool that people (we helped fix up) are going to be the ones to support (the veterans run).”

For more information about the township’s Veterans Day event or to register for the Veterans Memorial Run, call the Supervisor’s Office at (586) 731-5154.