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.
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