"I have so much respect for our military and veterans. I never want to take for granted the sacrifices that were made so that we may all enjoy our freedoms," said Wolek. To honor the military and veterans, Wolek has worked diligently with numerous organizations to infuse remembrance into all aspects of the race. This year, organizations such as WIRED Athletes, Team RWB, Infinite Hero and Folds of Honor will be involved with the triathlon.
Team RWB, an organization dedicated to supporting veterans and enriching their lives by connecting them with the community through social and physical activity, will once again have a team participate in the race.
"The RWB team, despite the weather, had a phenomenal time (in 2013)," said Joe Emmons, veteran member of Team RWB. Emmons believes Leon's Triathlon offers a great experience for athletes.
"When in the military, you have friends around you, there's camaraderie, a common goal and a mission to complete. Team TRW tries to bring that back into veterans' lives," said Emmons. Emmons explained that through Team RWB, veterans are surrounding themselves with others who have shared their experiences and can build bonds while giving them something to achieve.
In addition to Team RWB, Infinite Hero Foundation, an organization that funds programs within other veteran service organizations and institutions, will have a presence during the race.
Laurie Baker, director of Infinite Hero Foundation, explained that since the organization's inception in 2011 by founding corporate partner Oakley, Inc., Infinite Hero has granted $1.3 million to eight different organizations that combat the most difficult front-line mental and physical issues facing returning military heroes and their families.
"We are extremely proud to be included in the upcoming Leon's Triathlon and to have a presence on-site to raise awareness of Infinite Hero Foundation," said Baker. "With proud supporters like Leon and the community he has helped develop around him, we are hopeful more people will join the mission."
WIRED Athletes, an organization whose mission is to provide a network of support and opportunities to all wounded military athletes, will also have a team participate in Leon's Triathlon.
According the Gary Hanson, co-founder of WIRED Athletes, participating in sports assists veterans with the transition from being a service member to becoming a civilian, and participation can be very stimulating and rejuvenating for wounded, ill and injured veterans.
Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization offering assistance and scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed or disabled in service, will also be represented at Wolf Lake Memorial Park during the race.
"We are learning that group exercise and group sports have excellent benefits in assisting our veterans as they transition back into society," explained Wolek. "We want to put a focus on the military veterans involved in the race by highlighting them on the broadcast and showcasing the benefits of the military organizations involved and what they offer to returning veterans."
Leon's Triathlon is an Olympic-distance race beginning and ending at Wolf Lake Memorial Park in Hammond, IN. The race is nationally broadcasted to millions of households on Comcast SportsNet, putting emphasis on the tribute to the military and veterans. For more information on Leon's Triathlon, visit www.leonstriathlon.org.