Jingle Bell Run, 70 Go the Distance
By Capt. Matthew Mutti, Wing Executive Staff Officer, 104th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 10, 2009
BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Massachusetts --
When Senior Master Sgt. Tomas Orifice from the aircraft fuels section heard the story of retired Chief Master Sgt. Vinnie Spanillo of the Conn. Air National Guard receiving a kidney donation from retired Col. Jack Swift also of the guard, he was so moved that he wanted to make sure others new about how one life could literally save another.
He collaborated with co-worker Staff Sgt. Jay Kinney and decided that a health-focused activity like a fun run would be the perfect venue to use for raising awareness for two very worthwhile programs, Bone marrow donation and organ donation.
Within a few months of the idea, the Jingle Bell run was born. On a blustery morning, December 7th, 70 members of the wing took part in the first of what they hope are many Jingle Bell Runs.
In attendance for this years event was Chief Spanillo and Col Swift as well as Mr. Chris Coonard represents the bone marrow registration program.
According to Staff Sgt. Kinney the objective will be to hold a road race every December and focus on a different organization or program that deserves extra attention.
This year's focus was on gaining awareness on organ donation and bone marrow registrations. Through this effort more than 50 members registered as potential candidates for bone marrow donations.
Senior Master Sgt. Orifice and Sgt. Kinney were both very excited by the support and turn out and are both looking forward to next years event.
Anyone who is interested in more information on Bone Marrow registration or organ transplant information can visit www.bonemarrow.gov
Next year the runner to beat will be Sgt. Jay Salus who ran the 5K road race in a under 20 minutes.