Janesville men raise more than $11,000 for homeless vets

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Anna Marie Lux
Friday, January 24, 2014

JANESVILLE--Joel Galvan is going to think more like a racer and less like a Marine next year.

Galvan, Derrick Farris, Tony Estrada and Dick King competed in one of the toughest races in the Midwest on Jan. 18 to raise money for homeless vets.

The Janesville men did not complete the grueling 64 miles, but they raised $11,100 for the local Housing 4 Our Vets program at Rock Valley Community Programs.

The amount, which was more than twice their goal, includes a matching donation of $5,000 from Data Dimensions of Janesville.

In addition, the men learned how to compete better next year, when they plan to raise money for homeless vets again.

“We probably packed 60 pounds more gear than the other competitors,” 29-year-old Galvan said. “And we were way overdressed with huge bulky boots.”

The men all served in the Marines, with the exception of Estrada, whose father is a retired Air Force officer.

They trekked in the rough terrain of the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, where ice under about half a foot of snow made climbing and descending steep hills difficult.

“We trained on a lot of flat land,” Galvan said. “Once we got there, we had a reality check in our first mile. We had some hard climbing. It was a fight for every step.”

He quit the race after 40 miles because his legs severely cramped.

Estrada injured his knee after slipping down an icy hill after about 10 miles. Farris and King made it to the 48-mile mark before cold and exhaustion set in.

About 120 donors gave to the Housing 4 Our Vets program, which began in 2011. The program offers housing and support services to veterans, including case management, job training and placement and group and individual counseling.

“A lot of people don't realize how big a problem homelessness is among veterans,” Galvan said. “By running the race, we also hope to raise awareness in the community.”

He and Estrada both work at Rock Valley Community Programs in the residential reentry program.

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