- Rockwood School District
Rockwood Summit Senior Organizes 5K for Eagle Scout Project to Benefit Veterans
When it came time to embark on his Eagle Scout project, Rockwood Summit High senior Omar Miller wanted to work on something that would combine two of his main interests.
As an avid runner and member of the Falcons’ cross country and track teams, Miller thought it would be interesting to organize a race for the Fenton community. Coming from a military family, Miller also wanted to choose a project that would benefit veterans.
The culmination of his project – the Vets Gone Home 5K Run/Walk – is planned for Saturday, March 4, at Fenton City Park.
The beneficiary organization for the race is the St. Louis chapter of the Veterans Community Project, which operates a specialized community of tiny homes with on-site, wraparound support services designed to equip homeless and in-need veterans with the tools needed to return to a stable, prosperous, independent life.
“I wanted to get involved and figure out what I could do to help those who have served our country and anybody else who is part of the military community,” Miller said. “I also wanted to spread awareness of this issue – homelessness and in-need veterans – to people who may not know about it.”
Miller’s father recently retired from the military and now works on the civilian side with the Army Corps of Engineers. Growing up, Miller and his family lived in Georgia, Kansas, California, Rhode Island, Georgia again, Germany, New Mexico and then Fenton, where Miller has attended Rockwood schools since eighth grade.
He has used this recent geographic stability to focus on deepening his involvement with his scout troop.
“My idea is to have the race as the main event and then have all these other organizations – like the Wounded Warrior Project – come out to give information to people who come to my race and tell them what they do and how people in our community can help,” Miller said. “I’m running it how you would a race committee. I’m race director, then I’ve got other adults from my troop and school helping me in different positions as volunteers.”
In October, Miller started working with the city council to secure Fenton City Park as the race venue. Last month, he started holding race committee meetings, reaching out to veterans organizations and setting up the logistics for the day of the race.
At the race website – vetsgonehome5k.com – participants can sign up to participate in the event in person or through a virtual 5K walk/run. The first registration deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 31, after which the price increases. Miller plans to make another deadline toward the end of February then a final one on Thursday, March 2, two days before the race.
He is hoping to draw at least 100 participants for the in-person race, in addition to virtual participants.
“This is pretty big for me because, in eighth grade and freshman year, I was iffy on whether I wanted to stay with scouting,” Miller said. “Now, pulling off this project would be a big accomplishment, and finishing off the Eagle would be even better.”