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Members of Coast Guard Station Tawas, in East Tawas, Mich., are making great strides for a good cause in the Thunderwater- Great Lakes 500 Canned Food Drive. The crews have traded in their work boots for running shoes in the event, which consist of a total of 500 cumulative miles, run by the station’s crew to promote the food drive.
The Thunderwater- Great Lakes 500 Canned Food Drive is a fitness-inspired canned food drive benefitting the community of the Tawas area. In return for canned goods donated, the men and women of Station Tawas have set a goal to run 500 miles by Dec. 15.
Station personnel are counting miles by running through the cities of Tawas and East Tawas as a group or on individual runs.
“It’s an honor system,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan McLean, an officer-of-the-day at Station Tawas.
“We have group runs scheduled, but some of the guys are so driven to help, that by themselves, they are racking up the miles.”
The crew from Station Tawas hit the ground running with their first run on Oct. 24, and has acquired more than 400 miles. The run in October kicked off the food drive with a 1.5 mile run through the streets of Tawas City and East Tawas with the station’s 25- foot Response Boat-Small towed on a trailer behind the runners.
“During the last run, one man was cheering us on with chants of ‘500 miles,’” said McLean. “A group of sweet old ladies came up to us after the run and asked what we were doing. After explaining the food drive to them, they went to the nearest store and bought canned food to donate.”
Members of the station are working with local businesses to help with the food drive, there are several drop boxes located at Wal-Mart, Neiman’s Family Market, Brew Krew and Cash Advance. The community is also encouraged to bring canned food donations to the Coast Guard station and receive a station tour.
“We have a great community, and have received excellent support from them, but it is strange how many people do not realize that there is a Coast Guard station in the Tawas area.”
Members of the station have collected more than 1,630 canned goods so far, surpassing the original goal of 500.
Nate Neiman of Neiman’s Family Market has pledged to match the amount of canned goods brought in by the station to give to local charities.“I am so proud to live in a place where the members of the Coast Guard station are going out of their way to help the community,” said Neiman.
The next group run is slated for Nov. 16, at 10 a.m. and will start at Neiman’s Family Market. Then the runners will head north via U.S. Route 23 and onto Newman Street. A trailered Coast Guard vessel will follow behind the runners.
“I would like to see the other units in the Great Lakes take part in their own food drives,” said McLean. “It would give us some friendly competition.”