GREEN BAY, Wis. – More than 600 people showed support for area veterans on Saturday, through the annual ‘City Stadium Run for Veterans’ in Green Bay. Every year proceeds from the run supports a different cause related to veteran services.
The run invited 98-year old, World War II veteran, Bert Compton as an honorary guest. Compton witnessed the raising of the flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Compton says that memory is treasured in his heart forever.
“Oh man, you can’t describe it, it’s something you’ll never forget,” said Compton.
“He saw the flag go up on Mouth Suribachi and that’s unbelievable when you think about that, and he’s pretty emotional when you talk about it rightfully so, he said it was the most beautiful sight he ever saw,” said James Belongia, City Stadium Run for Veterans event organizer.
Money from the run goes to UW Green Bay’s Veterans Center, helping veterans with counseling and therapy services.
Ryan Schroeder was the first to cross the finish line.
“I had expectations to hopefully win but you never know who’s going to show up on race day, and you know I felt pretty good the whole race and you know pretty happy to come with the win,” Schroeder says.
Schroeder says it’s not just about winning. One of his favorite moments on Saturday was thanking all of the veterans.
“You know breaking the tape and then being able to shake all those veterans’ hands is pretty special, because it’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than us, we’re out here for them, and that’s what it’s all about,” Schroeder adds.
Compton’s daughter, Karen Nuthals, says seeing all the runners interact with her dad was overwhelming and heartwarming.
“Today I just see a pride in him. His eyes are lit up and he’s very proud to hear people thank him so I’m appreciative of all who took time to thank him for his service,” said Nuthals.
“Oh yes, I want to say thank you to everybody supporting the veterans,” Compton adds.