Suffolk County marathon and Freedom Fest update
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone

Suffolk County marathon and Freedom Fest update


I recently announced that Catholic Health Services (CHS) has been named as a “Medal of Honor” title sponsor for the second annual Suffolk County marathon and Freedom Fest which will take place on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016.  We made the announcement on the grounds of Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip.

I am proud that Catholic Health Services has joined us once again in our efforts to enhance local veteran services and programs throughout Suffolk County by becoming the title sponsor of this year’s marathon, half marathon and newly created 5K race.  We thank CHS for their continuous commitment to our local veterans as they played an integral role in last year’s event, which drew more than 3,500 runners. With their support, we expect those numbers to grow this year.

As a title sponsor, Catholic Health Services will be included on all race related materials and featured in the Finish Line Festival area, and have their logo included on the start/finish race banners, mile markers, and on the front of all participant and volunteer T-shirts. 

For the second consecutive year, Catholic Health Services will also be the official medical sponsor of the event and provide medical support to hundreds of runners last year, including medical tent services and field hospital operations. 

The inaugural Suffolk County marathon and half marathon raised more than $160,000 for local veteran services. On Thursday, March 24, the names of organizations that were chosen by the Suffolk County Marathon Fund Disbursement Advisory Committee were announced. 

Nineteen organizations received awards ranging from $2,500 to $23,600 including:

  • Missing in America Veterans Recovery Program, $2,500, burial services for unclaimed veterans;
  • United Veterans Beacon House, $9,800, “Unmet Needs” program; assisting veterans and their families with services including but not limited to: financial management, sustainability, food stuffs, bedding, transportation services, assistance with completing financial assistance applications
  • Paws of War Inc.,  $7,900, providing service dogs to disabled veterans in need
  • America’s VetDogs, $9,800, providing service/therapy dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD
  • Long Island Blue Star Moms NY, $2,000, for   supply/care packages for active duty service members overseas as well as toiletries for veterans in nursing homes
  • Honor Flight Long Island, $5,900,  to provide group trips to Washington, D.C., to visit national memorial
  • Make It Count Foundation, $23,600, home renovations/necessary modifications for disabled veterans in need; working in conjunction with Northport VA
  • 9-1-1 Veterans, $23,600, provides emergency financial relief to veterans in need, such as mortgage payment or home heating oil costs
  • Pal-O-Mine Equestrian Inc., $5,500,    animal/equine therapy sessions and psychotherapy program for veterans suffering from PTSD
  • Korean War Veterans of Central LI Inc., $3,000, veteran events: holiday party and Gold Star Mother event
  • Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), $6,000, free computers and computer programs to veterans and veterans organizations
  • Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, $9,700, free legal services program for veterans
  • General Needs Ltd.,    $12,300, provides “basic needs” items for veterans, such as beds, clothing, toiletries, cookware, etc.; working with the VA and United Way
  • Disabled American Veterans of NY Services Corps, $5,300, funds for vehicle purchase to provide free transportation service for disabled veterans
  • St. Joseph’s College Long Island, $6,900, job training program for veterans
  • Project 9Line Inc., $13,500, focused on using the arts as a method of therapy for PTSD and other mental ailments.
  • American Legion Babylon Post 94, $4,600, excursions (fishing trips), special events, and site visits for veterans housed at Northport VA and Stony Brook Veterans Home
  • Suffolk Community College Foundation,  $3,700, veteran suicide prevention program and suicide intervention/awareness training program
  • Suffolk County American Legion, PTSD Committee, $4,000, peer-to-peer PTSD counseling program at 20 Suffolk County American Legion locations

With these awards, we can provide the services that our veterans need when they return home from service.  Through a broad range of services, these organizations take a variety of approaches to help veterans adjust and return to their civilian lives. I am proud of the success of the first marathon and the fact that we’re able to strengthen services delivered to veterans.