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KENOSHA, Wis. — What started as a company-wide effort to raise funds for the American Heart Association’s Southeast Wisconsin Heart and Stroke Walk two years ago took the next step last year when Vonco expanded the event to the grounds of UW-Parkside.

Kenosha-area company Vonco building event to benefit Southeast Wisconsin Heart and Stroke Walk
Participants in last year’s Vonco Products 5K Run/Walk prepare to take to the course at UW-Parkside. This year’s event is set for Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course, beginning at 9 a.m. All proceeds will benefit the Southeast Wisconsin Heart and Stroke Walk, set for Sept. 23, in Milwaukee. – Credit: Vonco

Now in its third year, Vonco Products President Keith Smith is hoping to move the needle even further.

Vonco, based in Trevor, is sponsoring a 5K Run/Walk again on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course, Petrifying Springs Road, Kenosha. All proceeds will benefit the Association’s Sept. 23 Heart and Stroke Walk in Milwaukee.

For Smith, there isn’t just one connection to his desire to keep growing this event – his grandfather died from a heart attack, and both his father and brother have had heart attacks.

“(That caused me) to really get passionate about healthy lifestyles,” he said. “Not necessarily just to avoid heart attacks, but it was more to manage my energy and what I want to accomplish in life by having the right (things) in place. I wanted to find ways and other outlets to kind of give back and join forces with other folks that have a similar message.”

Helping the American Heart Association and it’s Heart and Stroke Walk in Milwaukee is the perfect fit.

“One of the things that I love about the Heart Association is their extreme focus for fitness and health. … I love what they promote from that standpoint, and I look to find ways to promote that within my organization as well and (with) anybody I come across.”

Last year’s event drew about 100 people and raised just shy of $3,500 for the American Heart Association – decent numbers for just the second year, but Smith wants to keep it growing.

“I’d love to see us take a stronger position in the Kenosha and Racine counties (and build this event),” Smith said.

Kenosha-area company Vonco building event to benefit Southeast Wisconsin Heart and Stroke Walk
Last year’s 5K Run/Walk drew about 100 people and raised just shy of $3,500 for the American Heart Association. – Credit: Vonco

“It’s on a beautiful course. For anybody interested in running, it’s one of the nation’s best cross-country courses to run a 5K, gorgeous in the shade through the running trails, a beautiful forest.

“It will be a beautiful day to get the family out and support a really good cause.”

Smith urges other area businesses to enter a team – or teams – for the Aug. 19 event.

“Get three or four people together and commit to going,” he said. “It’s early in the morning, a quick walk (or run) around, support a good cause and get your day started.

“That’s a big part of my health journey, is starting your day by investing in yourself with something healthy. A beautiful morning in August, it’s still cool. Get your walk in, and I promise that day will have a little bit of a different and more positive spin to it. You’ll just be in a better mood all day.”

The event is set up for all kinds of athletes. Serious runners can compete in the 5K, but there’s also a walk for those who want to get their daily steps in.

And it’s a chance to mingle with other businesses from the area as well.

“If you want to run in the morning and go for your PR, that’s great, I’ll be there right alongside you,” Smith said. “But I just want to see you out there walking, getting to know people. We have a great community, great people. Network a bit, get some exercise in, support a good cause and just be part of something that’s a little bit bigger than you.”

Athletes from both UW-Parkside cross-country teams will assist with running the event, according to Parkside Assistant Athletic Director Jake Sutter.

Parkside is happy to partner with Vonco and the AHA on this event, Sutter said.

“Our department is very thankful for Vonco Products choosing us as their teammate in hosting (this event),” he said. “We are hoping that this year we shatter our attendance record from last year and have a number of people walking/running in support of this great cause on a nationally-ranked cross country course and making a Ranger ‘Impact’ with us.”

Check-in for the Vonco Products 5K Run/Walk begins at 9 a.m., followed by the rain-or-shine event at 10:30 a.m. The cost for the run is $35, while the walk is free.

Register online by clicking the button below:

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives that is dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, the AHA funds innovative research, advocates for the public’s health and shares lifesaving resources.

Kenosha-area company Vonco building event to benefit Southeast Wisconsin Heart and Stroke Walk, American Heart Association

The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with the AHA on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721).

This article was written by Dan Truttschel, the marketing communications director for the Milwaukee American Heart Association.

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