5K 4 Fighters

5K 4 Fighters' Race

Supporting Our Women Veterans

October 7th, 2023

What is 5K 4 Fighters?

The 5K 4 Fighters is a fun racing event for all ages and created in response to the growing and unmet needs of Women Veterans.  This event organized through the  E.O.C. of Suffolk, Inc. & Women Marines Association recognizes and honors the brave men and women who fought for our freedom.

All veterans and their families know about sacrifice and patriotism; we encourage others to join us in celebrating and supporting them during this event.  This 5k race, fun walk and cadence march begins and ends at the attractive Shore Front Park in Patchogue.

It is well known that Suffolk County has one of the highest number of veterans in New York. While the SSVF government grant affords EOC of Suffolk, Inc. the opportunity to assist Veterans into permanent housing the program is limited. In response to the growing and varied needs, the EOC of Suffolk, Inc., has partnered with the Women Marines Association and come up with a mission to make an impact on the homeless women veterans community, and expand the resources available for women veterans.

The proceeds of the 5K 4 Fighters race will assist women Veterans in having access to the resources they need in order to sustain living, working and being on Long Island.

This year's race will be held on October 9th, 2021.  So bring the family and help support efforts to assist the growing needs of Women Veterans and Suffolk County's homeless veterans.

A Thank You To All Participants, Sponsors and Volunteer’s

We would personally like to thank everyone who has donated to and is participating in, this patriotic event that so generously supports and celebrates Long Island’s Veterans. The support and enthusiasm has come from every end of the Island. Thank you for caring so deeply for our veterans and their families.

The co- hosts and beneficiaries of Patchogue’s 5K 4 Fighters’ race are the Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc. and the Women Marines Association. These two organizations continue to serve our community by caring for our veterans at home and abroad, as well as provide support for their families here in the communities of Long Island. They are committed to ending Veteran Homelessness, and have vowed together to work together specifically looking to help our growing population of homeless women veterans. Your support will lend a hand in continuing the mission to help homeless women veterans become self-sufficient providers for their families.

Please accept our sincere gratitude for your support as a sponsor, a runner, or a volunteer. We also extend a very special thank you to the Village of Patchogue, Brookhaven Township and the Parks and Recreation Department, for their strong support and assistance in making this event successful. Your kind generosity is deeply appreciated by those who will benefit from this event.

EOC of Suffolk, Inc.’s Team

The Invisible Veteran

Close your eyes. Picture in your mind- a veteran. Most will see an older man, in a uniform. Branch of service does not matter, what always remains constant – is the fact that your immediate vision, is not of a woman. While yes, the largest group of veterans are male, they are not the only veterans. Women have been serving in the military since 1775. They have been in combat, they have filled jobs overseas, and accomplished multiple tours of duty, only to become second guessed when they return home.

So why are they invisible?

Women veterans are challenged every day, to prove themselves worthy. They are constantly being questioned  if they really served, what branch they could have possibly been in, and what job they filled. More times than not, the woman veteran will be asked if it was her husband that served, or even her child, before they even think that it is possible that she is actually the veteran.

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After feeling like you constantly have to prove yourself, many women veterans will not even self-identify, as it is easier, and less embarrassing to admit they are veterans. There is a stigmatism amongst us that says while a male veteran is a hero, a woman must have something wrong with her, if she made the choice to serve. The last thing these women then want to do, is ask for help. Thus creating a growing demographic of homeless veterans, with an even greater suicide rate.

Suffolk County alone has 75,000 veterans registered. If even 10% of that are women, that means there are 7,500 women, in our community. Recent research has showed that while the entire veteran population is set to decrease over the next 25 years the women veterans will increase significantly, and steadily, with the projected level to be at 2.4 million women veterans, by 2040. That’s in less than 25 years.

Veteran women, are more than twice likely as non –veterans women and over 3 times as likely as non-veteran women living in poverty to experience homelessness. That number also jumps, depending on other risk factors, such as younger ages, being unmarried, unemployment, having a service connected disability or having been a victim of MST, or diagnosed with PTSD. Today, we are focused on raising awareness, and changing the vision of how our women veterans are viewed.

Long Island has limited resources and programs to help these unsung heroes coming back home. It is our vision and dream that the 5K 4 Fighter race, will continue to raise funds for them year after year until a suitable transition home for women veterans is opened on Long Island. Right now, the funds we raise will be able to go towards the needs of the women veterans that are unmet. Some of these woman need licensing fees, additional legal costs, utility and car payments, assistance with relocation, support for single mothers and children’s care needs. The transition back into civilian life is hard enough. Without our support it could take years before these women can even provide a secure home for themselves, and their families. Raising awareness is the key to solidifying the support these women need to become self-sufficient.

The women veterans can no longer be invisible.