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Gathering for Thanksgiving trot in Sandbridge a tradition for many

Runners at the starting line during Charlie Normile’s Turkey Trot Race for the Fallen on Thursday, Nov. 24, in Sandbridge. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Runners of all ages are seen at the starting line during one of the runs of  Charlie Normile’s Turkey Trot Race for the Fallen on Thursday, Nov. 24, in Sandbridge. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE

SANDBRIDGE — It has become a Thanksgiving tradition for local families and people from around the country who have Sandbridge connections to run one or more races during Charlie Normile’s Turkey Trot Race for the Fallen.

The annual race commemorates a young life lost – 2-year-old Charlie Normile, who died in 2011 – and proceeds benefit two charities with connections to this community, the Noblemen and the Navy SEAL Foundation.

It is a community event, a labor of love for many involved, especially Charlie Normile’s family and the many people who care about them. The turkey trot includes a five kilometer race, a one-mile fun run in which dog participation is welcome, and a 26-meter Gobble Wobble for runners five and under.

On Thursday, Nov. 24, Elise Normile, Charlie’s mom, thanked everyone for coming, supporting both the continuation of the race and the work of the charities it helps.

 “Enjoy your families,” she said, “and have a great time.”

Bryan Harrell, director of the music ministry at Sandbridge Chapel United Methodist Church, led a rendition of the National Anthem. Many near the stage – the patio at Sandbridge Island Restaurant – sang along.

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke, too. 

“Some of you look really great, and some of you look really goofy,” he said.

And then he talked about community involvement, including support of events such as this one, and ties to the military community.

“That’s the strength of our country,” he said. “It’s not government.”

Then races were run, and many of the participants said this was a race they ran each year. One was 20-year-old Holly Moye of Holland Pines, a college student at James Madison University.

“I was friends with James,” she said, speaking of Charlie’s older brother, James Normile, who died in a car accident in 2012. He was 16. 

“Family and friends get together and run,” Moye said, a moment after she crossed the finish line in a race many run together.

Elise Normile, Charlie's mom, speak before the races. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Elise Normile, Charlie’s mom, speaks before the races. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Holly Moye, 20, of Holland Pines, had a big smile on her face when she crossed the finish line. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Holly Moye, 20, of Holland Pines, had a big smile on her face when she crossed the finish line. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke during the event. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Former Gov. Bob McDonnell spoke during the event. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Rich Cassetta of Ashville, N.C., was among 17 loved ones, aged four to 77, to take part in the race while wearing turkey hats. All were visiting Sandbridge, and members of the family were from California, New Jersey and North Carolina. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Rich Cassetta of Asheville, N.C., was among 17 loved ones, aged four to 77, to take part in the race while wearing turkey hats. All were visiting Sandbridge, and members of the family were from California, New Jersey and North Carolina. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Bryan Harrell, director of the music ministry at Sandbridge Chapel United Methodist Church, sang the National Anthem. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Bryan Harrell, director of the music ministry at Sandbridge Chapel United Methodist Church, sang the National Anthem. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Phoenix Carolina, in the turkey suit, and Don Swain of Kempsville are seen with their dogs, Ralphie, Reggie and Ozzie. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Phoenix Carolina, in the turkey suit, and Don Swain of Kempsville are seen with their dogs, Ralphie, Reggie and Ozzie. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]


For more information about Charlie Normile’s Turkey Trot for the Fallen, visit charliesrun.com by clicking on this link.


© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

The Independent News

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