NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Only in Rhode Island will you find the Coffee Milk Marathon, yet people from all over the country showed up to run in it at Quonset Sunday.
For one Elmira, New York man, it’s was where he chose to run his 400th marathon.
“I’ve done every state in the United States three times at least, today will be number 13 in Rhode Island. It’s my way of seeing the nation,” Rob Toonkel said.
In addition to marathons, Toonkel donates platelets as well.
“This past Tuesday I donated platelets for the 225th time. Those are used for accident victims, heart attack victims, NICU babies. Many of us are going to need platelets in our life, and I’m healthy enough to give and I’m proud to give,” Toonkel said.
But for one other out of stater, their purpose was also very important.
Firefighter Steven Bender ran the race in full gear. He did so while representing the organization he started called the Firefighter Five Foundation. The non-profit is aimed at raising awareness for first responders and their struggle with PTSD.
“I’ve been a firefighter for 30 years, volunteer firefighter for 30 years, and I’ve gone through some experiences which I’m sure most our first responders have where maybe a life-threatening situation, there’s a time you couldn’t save that one person and it does stick and it does resonate in the back of my mind and I’m sure it does for others as well and we just want to let everybody know you’re not alone. If you need help, if you want to talk to somebody there are people out there to help you and care for you,” Bender said.
Those who want to learn more about the Firefighter Five Foundation can visit the organization’s website.