WHEELING - They may be thousands of miles away, but distance isn't stopping a group of dedicated U.S. soldiers on duty in Afghanistan from running the Debbie Green Memorial 5K Race.
In support of children battling cancer, Sgt. Willie Clegg and at least 50 of his fellow troop members from an engineering unit in Parkersburg will run their own race in Afghanistan in conjunction with the 17th Annual Debbie Green Memorial.
According to race director Ron Green, Clegg, an Ohio Valley native, contacted Green this summer to organize his own version of the Debbie Green race for his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, with any funds raised to go to the race's cause.
"He thought it would be fun," Green said. "He told the other guys and they thought it would be a cool idea. They wanted to help the kids out and this is their way of doing it. I think it's great."
Clegg and the troops ran at 7 a.m. July 27 in Afghanistan. During the race, the soldiers will raised American flag for each child they are helping. The troops will later present the flags to the children when they come back to the United States later this summer.
According to Green, this is the first time overseas troops have run for the Debbie Green race and said he is impressed Clegg thought of him while on active duty.
"How many people would go through the trouble?" Green said. "They're in the middle of a war zone and thinking of something like this ... that says something about their character and the kind of soldiers we have. We're lucky we have soldiers like that watching our back."