Suffolk Federal’s Ultra Marathon Runner Eva Casale Raises More Than $25,000 for Veterans By Running 7 Marathons in 7 Days (184 Miles)
Suffolk Federal’s Vice President of Information Technology and extreme distance marathon runner Eva Casale heightened awareness and raised more than $25,000 in support of Hope for the Warriors. Eva completed seven marathons, amounting to 184 miles, over the course of seven days. Each day’s marathon focused on honoring local servicemen killed in action and was linked to the community they called home.
“Using my passion for running to bring people together to support programs and services which Hope for the Warriors offers, was a perfect opportunity for me to make a difference for our Veterans,” explained Casale. “It was an honor and privilege for me to organize this event. I am inspired by all the people I met and who supported me during my journey. It really provides faith in humanity.”
Suffolk Federal supported Eva’s mission by serving as lead sponsor. One of Suffolk Federal’s priorities is to support and give back to the communities the credit union serves. “As a United States Air Force Veteran, I strongly feel that supporting our Veterans is an important mission and that it is our responsibility to show the same dedication and commitment to our veterans that they have shown to serving our country. It was only natural for us to support Eva with her efforts to raise funds and awareness for the brave men and women who have served our country and have given up so much to defend our freedom,” explained Ralph D. Spencer Jr., Suffolk Federal’s President & CEO.
“This is truly an exciting mission. What Eva Casale and Suffolk Federal have done is to provide a strong platform that has enabled the residents of our local communities to mobilize and be able to give back and support our local veterans and their families. That is an inspirational accomplishment,” explained Congressman Lee Zeldin.
Hope for the Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope to service members, their families, and families of the fallen.
Senior Director of Sports and Recreation for Hope For The Warriors, Steve Bartomioli explains that “Team E.V.A. has provided great awareness and financial support to the Hope For The Warriors programs focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement and connections to community resources and for that we are truly grateful.”
Honoring our Fallen Servicemen
The seven-day marathon event began with an exciting Opening Ceremony at the Huntington Elks Lodge where more than 70 people were welcomed to a catered breakfast by Parkside Manor. The heartwarming ceremony featured several Gold Star families, members of Team E.V.A. who would begin the journey with her as well as Huntington Town Councilwomen Tracey Edwards and Susan Berland. A highlight of the ceremony took place when Suffolk Federal President & CEO Ralph D. Spencer, Jr. presented Eva with a surprise check for $10,000 to support her mission.
Following the Opening Ceremonies, Team Eva began the 7-day journey. Day 1 was dedicated to Marine Corps Cpl. Christopher G. Scherer and was titled “Team Chris Day in Honor of Gold Star Families.” Eva and her team traveled from Huntington through Greenlawn and Centerport to Northport. Her travels included part of the I Did the Grid course and a visit to Cpl. Christopher Scherer’s family home.
Day 2 was titled “Every Veteran Appreciated Day” and was dedicated to all veterans; men and women in uniform – past, present and future. The marathon began at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale where the participants paid their respects to the Fallen Warriors of Long Island. At the Suffolk Federal West Babylon Branch, Janet Lombardo, the Copiague Chamber of Commerce Vice President met the team and presented Team E.V.A, Suffolk Federal and Hope for the Warriors proclamations for their efforts in supporting Suffolk County Veterans.
Day 3 was “Shelter Island Fallen Heroes Day/Team Joey Day.” The day was dedicated to Shelter Island Fallen Heroes and Army 1st LT Joseph Theinert in support of Team Joey. The Shelter Island community welcomed the runners with warm enthusiasm and hosted a celebratory reception following the marathon.
Day 4 was dedicated to United States Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter, in support of Team Jordan and the Fallen Heroes of the East End. It was titled “The East End’s Fallen Heroes Day / Team Jordan Day Sag Harbor / East Hampton.” The marathon took place from the South Ferry through North Haven, Sag Harbor, to the East Hampton War Memorial and then back to Sag Harbor’s War Memorial. Runners also were taken to Jordan’s Memorial at the bridge, and to Jordan’s final resting place.
Day 5 titled “Team Bones In Honor Of Louis Bonacasa And Miller Place Fallen Heroes Day” honored Air Force SSg Louis Bonacasa and the Fallen Warriors of Miller Place and Sound Beach.
Day 6 was “Brookhaven Fallen Heroes Day” and kicked off at the Suffolk Federal Sayville branch with a stop at Long Island MacArthur Airport to pay respects at the Fallen Warrior Memorial. The day ended at the Brookhaven Town Hall where Team Eva was invited into a packed Town Board Meeting. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine presented Eva Casale with a proclamation declaring April 27 as “Eva Casale Day.”
The final marathon, day seven, honored Navy Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy. It was titled “Michael Murphy Day Medford” and took participants past Patchogue-Medford High School — Michael’s high school — continuing through Patchogue and back to Suffolk Federal’s headquarters for the Closing Ceremonies where more than 100 people welcomed Eva home. In attendance were Gold Star families; U.S. Army Staff Sargent Ronald Hurtado, Afghanistan war veteran; Congressman Lee Zeldin; Presiding Officer for the Legislature DuWayne Gregory; Town of Brookhaven Councilman Michael Loguerci; and the US Naval Sea Cadet Corps LT Michael P. Murphy, Division, led by the Suffolk County Police Emerald Society Pipe Band, who welcomed the runners as they concluded their journey.
“The efforts of Eva Casale and the support of Suffolk Federal is inspiring and really defines what ‘community service’ should be about,” explained Legislator DuWayne Gregory. “Just as our Veterans answered the call of duty to serve their country, Eva and Suffolk Federal have answered the call of duty to ensure that ‘Every Veteran is Appreciated’ here on Long Island.”
About Hope For The Warriors:
Founded in 2006, Hope For The Warriors is a national nonprofit dedicated to restoring a sense of self, family and hope for post 9/11 veterans, service members and military families. Since its inception, Hope For The Warriors has served approximately 10,000 through a variety of support programs focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement and connections to community resources. The nonprofit’s first program, A Warrior’s Wish, has granted 162 wishes to fulfill a desire for a better quality of life or support a quest for gratifying endeavors. In addition, Run For The Warriors has captured the hearts of more than 22,000 since 2010. For more information, visit www.hopeforthewarriors.org, Facebook or Twitter.