Aztecs exercise for veteran support organization

by Stephanie Saccente

04_22_13_News_EX4Vets_Choice1_SSEmbrace hosted the third annual Ex 4 Vets event on Saturday to raise money for homeless and disabled veteran programs in San Diego. Participants came together in a one-hour exercising event on the deck of the USS Midway.
Sean Sheppard founded the nonprofit organization Embrace in 2000. He said his primary goal in creating Ex 4 Vets was to raise awareness of homeless and disabled veterans’ needs.

San Diego State Associated Students president Rob O’Keefe met Sheppard last fall and after learning more about Embrace, decided to partner with Sheppard to get SDSU students more involved.

“At the end of the day, being able to be part of something that is bigger than oneself and being able to create positive change for disabled and homeless military veterans is so valuable in that we, as students, get to show a veteran community—that we may not have had contact with in the past—that we care about them,” O’Keefe said.
This year’s event raised more than $32,000. The top individual-student fundraiser was freshman Andrew Frazier who raised $2,550. Embrace will give back 50 percent of net revenue to the student organizations, ministries, active military and veteran groups that participated and raised money for the event. Foods and nutrition junior Marissa Thiry was excited to participate in the event because many of her family members are veterans, and the cause really hit home for her.

“The support we show veterans does not even compare to everything they have done for us,” Thiry said. “This is the least we can do as college students as a thank you for the safe place we call home.”

Business administration freshman Jaydee Marek also feels strongly for the cause. Marek also participated in “Aerob-A-Thon,” a promotional event for this year’s Ex 4 Vets that was featured on KUSI News.

“I love to work out and with this event, I could work out while raising money for a great cause,” Marek said. “I can only imagine some of the challenges these veterans are facing and I really wanted to raise as much money as I could for them.”
Sheppard expressed his appreciation for all who participated. He said next year, he would like to see even more SDSU student organizations participate.
“It’s great that students are becoming more aware of veteran needs, and the event just keeps getting bigger each year,” Sheppard said.