Known as the “Old Glory Relay,” Veterans and their supporters participating in the eight-week event passed through Houston this weekend.
Runners arrived on the westside of town Friday, with local veterans, friends and family carrying the flag on the course and sidelines in a show of support.
Beginning this year on September 11 in Seattle, the OGR is meant to help veterans connect and raise funds for groups assisting with their readjustments to civilian life, according to its website.
More than 70 teams of veterans, active-duty service members and civilians are reportedly carrying the flag and running the relay to bring attention to veterans’ issues.
Many Houston-area vets who took part in the relay shared their stories with a local newspaper as they ran through Houston.
For example, Philip Swift, a native of northwest Houston who, during an interview, said he served two tours in Iraq, explained his personal difficulties in returning to civilian life after duty:
“I was scared to be out in the world,” Swift said. “It didn’t feel normal.”
Swift, who said he now works for a car dealership, is married with a 2-year-old daughter and continuing to adapt to life outside a war zone.
When his boyhood home flooded during Hurricane Harvey, he said he noted how his fellow veterans didn’t hesitate to help those in need:
“The flood came up, the water went away,” he said. “The City of Houston was still here. Everybody got back up, cleaned off their boots and went back to work.”
OTR concluded its time in the Houston area Monday, moving west next toward Devers, Texas.
According to its website, the relay is scheduled to end in Tampa, Fla., on Veterans Day – Nov. 11.
If you or a veteran you know ever needs help or support, read more here.