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The Waukegan Cares Foundation hosts its 4th annual “Wauk” For Awareness 5K Saturday, August 27, at Founders Park, 10385 W. Beach Road in Beach Park. The goal of the event is to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
The event begins with a warm up at 10:30 a.m. followed by opening remarks from Beach Park Mayor John Hucker, Waukegan 1st Ward Alderman Sam Cunningham, Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, and Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. The walk begins shortly after 11 a.m until 2 p.m. In addition to the walk, participants can enjoy free wellness screenings, a fire truck display, bounce house, kids’ games, and a dunk tank. A K-9 demonstration takes place at 1 p.m.
The $25 entry fee includes a free lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and those who sign-up by July 29th also receive a free event t-shirt. To register for the walk or to sign up to host a table or booth, contact Tom Granger at 847.417.2495 or [email protected] There is no charge to host a table or booth and organizations have until August 26th to sign up.
This year’s sponsors include Jen G’s Pizza & Pub of Beach Park, Vista Health, Waukegan Alderman Sam Cunningham, J R’s Wrecker Service, TNT Auto Center, Waukegan Police Association, Waukegan Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Gurnee Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 266, Zion Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 91, Coral Chemical, Norstates Bank, Ink’n Tees, Rental Depot, Waukegan Police Officer Loyda Santiago, American Family Insurance - Silvia Chacon, Impressive Tan Salon and Spa, Attorney Julio Argueta, Paleterias “La Michoacana,” Planet Fitness, Tonatiuh Travel and Tours, Brisa Azul Restaurant, Innovation Entertainment featuring DJ Kike & DJ Ricky, and Statewide Insurance Solutions.
The Waukegan Cares Foundation was founded four years ago by Jennifer Granger, the wife of Waukegan police officer Tom Granger, after three Waukegan police officers took their own lives in less than a two-and-a-half-year period. Since then, The Waukegan Cares Foundation has held an annual 5K walk to raise money for the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force (LCSPTF).
The event was held in Waukegan during the first two years and approximately 150 people participated in the walks and many families came out to visit the tables and booths. Last year more than 200 people walked during the event, which was held in Beach Park. This year police officers throughout the county have volunteered to be in the dunk tank. There is no charge for activities at the event as everything is free thanks to donations made by area businesses. The first two years, Waukegan 1st Ward Alderman Sam Cunningham was instrumental in ensuring the event was a success. Even though the venue is in Beach Park, Cunningham has been working hard with The Waukegan Cares Foundation to make sure this year’s event is another success.
The LCSPTF is a group of volunteers, including staff at the Lake County Health Department, who help link people in need with the services that are provided in Lake County. Some examples include services to address mental health, physical health, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment, food pantries, and job development. These are all areas that without support could cause a person to feel alone, depressed, and hopeless.
Waukegan Police Chief Wayne Walles has strongly supported a volunteer group called Embracing the Badge. Embracing the Badge helps to promote and maintain wellness among Waukegan Police officers. The organization is in its third year and Waukegan police officer Marc Jackson and his wife Sara have done a remarkable job at making it a success. This year Embracing the Badge will again be participating in the event.
Freedom Farm for Vets located in Wadsworth and Lake County Veterans and Family Services are also jumping on board this year in an attempt to combat the problem of suicide as it relates specifically to veterans. Anyone participating this year will be able to choose to have their donation awarded to either the LCSPTF, Embracing the Badge, Lake County Veterans and Family Services, or Freedom Farm for Vets.
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