Press release from IFB Solutions:
Dawson Hart, a veteran who lost most of his eyesight while on duty in Iraq, is IFB Solutions’ honorary chairman of the inaugural Santa’s Showdown 5k run on Dec. 14 in Asheville. Hart is a long-time running enthusiast even after losing part of his leg a few years ago. He’ll run the race wearing a prosthetic that enables him to maintain a training regimen and races provide extra motivation.
The 5k race called Santa’s Showdown takes place at 9am on December 14 at Recreation Park at 72 Gashes Creek Road. Each person receives a reindeer or elf t-shirt before the race and runs for his or her randomly selected team. The race is family friendly and well-behaved dogs are welcome to accompany their people.
“I’m chairing this race because I want to help the visually impaired and blind people in our community, and proceeds from the race go to support IFB’s free summer camps for children who are blind,” says Hart. “I’m running because I want people to know that just because people may have a disability, it doesn’t mean they can’t live productive lives.”
Hart spent 27 years in the army. While in Iraq he was leaning down to pour water on his head when a grenade hit his Humvee and glass shattered all over his face, causing him to lose eyesight in one eye and have limited vision in the other. Years later, while walking on a beach with his guide dog, he stepped on a poisonous jellyfish stinger, resulting in the loss of part of his leg. Regardless of these disabilities, he is an avid runner.
“I’m 63 now and I’ve done everything I want to do; I have children and eight grandchildren. There’s nothing really that my disabilities keep me from doing that I didn’t do before. I don’t let it keep me down.”
Hart serves on the IFB Solutions board and two other boards and says it’s an honor to serve on the IFB Solutions board. He runs regularly with his wife and maintains a busy schedule. “It’s an honor to serve on the board for IFB Solutions because I believe so passionately in the work they are doing to provide jobs for people who are blind and visually impaired as well as the many services and programs they offer in the community.”
To register for the race, go to IFBShowdownrace.com and sign up. Prizes will be awarded to the top five male and female runners. Registration is $35. Dogs are welcome and can run for $10 per dog.