Capt. Jason Matthew Galus went by many names: husband, father, son, brother, veteran, former Colorado State University Army Reserve Officersâ€™ Training Corps. member, CSU alumnus, athlete, leader and friend.
But in the hearts of those who called him by these names, Saturdayâ€™s Veteranâ€™s Day 5K Race brought a plethora of emotions back to the forefront.
Galus passed away in a bicycle accident in Oklahoma on April 28, 2009.
This weekendâ€™s 1st annual Veterans Day 5K was held in memory of Galus. It attracted more than 130 runners to the CSU campus â€“â€“ including Galusâ€™ family and friends from as far as Florida â€“â€“ to support the run.
The Veteranâ€™s Day 5K was a fundraiser for CSUâ€™s Student Veteran Organization, or SVO, to establish a scholarship fund for student veterans on campus.
The fundraising plans for the race started in August 2009 and were originally set for last yearâ€™s Veterans Day.
â€œItâ€™s been a two-year process, but we thought of it too late to have it run for last yearâ€™s Veterans Day,â€ said Joe Beals, a junior nutrition major and co-director of the race. â€œI didnâ€™t realize that it would be as much work as it was, but it was a great group of people and we worked well together to put on the event.â€
Now that the race is complete, the organization hopes to organize monthly volunteer activities for the group, continue with their monthly socials and still use the ALVS office to meet in between.
â€œI was very honored,â€ said Air Force Captain Megan Galus, Jason Galusâ€™ sister, â€œItâ€™s hard, but Iâ€™m glad I came. It means a lot to me and my family.â€
The SVO, which is run out of the Adult Learners and Veteran Services office in the Lory Student Center, is the main location for the organizationâ€™s meetings and everyday use for student veterans to study or meet other veterans.Â
â€œItâ€™s great to just come in and be surrounded by your peers and feel like youâ€™re at home,â€ said Kelly Dowd, a junior journalism major and co-director for the race.
The shared goal of the office and the organization is to help veterans transition to college, to provide a sense of kinship at CSU and to assist student veterans on their course to graduation.
CSUâ€™s SVO started in Fall 2008 as the first organization in Colorado to be a part of the national Student Veterans of America.
â€œI would recommend that (all veterans) come to one or two events. Most people will find that they will enjoy the people,â€ Beals said. â€œWe need them to do that to strengthen our organization.â€
Staff Writer Vashti Batjargal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.