Why I'm Participating in the Big House 5K: Stephanie Miles

March 30, 2017

The Big House 5K: Trail to the Victors presented by Toyota on Sunday, April 9, will benefit six local, non-profit organizations selected based on the support they provide to our Washtenaw County community in key areas like housing, healthcare, the arts, youth programming and social services. In the next weeks leading up to the race, MGoBlue.com will share stories from people inspired to participate this year because of one of the beneficiaries.

By Stephanie Miles

I am running in memory of my father, Ron Miles, veteran of the U.S. Marines.

Through him, I was able to see firsthand the immediate and incredibly special bond that exists between servicemen and the lifesaving quality that bond can have. It truly is a brotherhood. After his death in 2005, a direct result of his two deployments in Vietnam, my family and I were blessed to feel the continued love and support of his Marine brothers.

I believe that every man and woman who has served their country deserves that same strong support system in whatever endeavors they face. The Buddy-to-Buddy program creates the opportunity for those relationships to proliferate. There are challenges facing some service members and veterans that many of us cannot even begin to imagine. Buddy-to-Buddy creates a network of Volunteer Veteran peers to provide aid to tackle a range of obstacles by providing information on finances, employment opportunities, legal aid, education, and mental health resources.

Organizations like Buddy-to-Buddy need support to continue their amazing mission. Simply having a "buddy" that has faced those same challenges, someone who can help you find the resources you need to be the most successful, is so invaluable.

I run because my daddy was the strongest, smartest, most capable, resilient man I knew. With a little help, more men and women like him can lead successful lives, giving back and being leaders in their community.

To register for the Big House 5K: Trail to the Victors present by Toyota and further support our race beneficiaries, visit MGoBlue.com/bighouse5k.

About Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program

Buddy-to-Buddy Volunteer Veteran Program

The Buddy-to-Buddy Program is a peer-to-peer program designed to provide outreach, support and linkage to resources for Michigan service members and veterans. It is part of Military Support Programs and Networks (M-SPAN), a group of programs within the University of Michigan Depression Center and Department of Psychiatry. Behind the program is a simple concept: military service is unlike any other life experience. No one knows more about the issues facing a veteran -- in combat or on the home front -- than another veteran. Buddy-to-Buddy volunteers help veterans overcome the stigma around asking for help and then provide assistance navigating complex systems of care. Volunteer Veterans can assist service members and veterans with issues ranging from accessing financial, employment, legal, benefits or educational resources to identifying mental health providers for emotional, substance abuse or relationship concerns. For more information, visit www.buddytobuddy.org.

2017 Race Beneficiaries