Kent State vets raise awareness, give clothes off their backs

Leanne O'Neill

Student veterans gathered in front of the M.A.C. Center Thursday evening before stripping down to their underwear and running laps around campus, all for charity.

The annual event “Clothes Off Your Back Run” raises awareness to help homeless veterans while donating clothes to those in need. The Kent State Veterans Club participated for the third year, said Josh Rider, director of the Center for Adult and Veteran Services.

The group ran near the dorms and Centennial Courts, said Ryan Lewand, a sophomore criminology and justice studies major who participated in the run.

“We tried running through the dorms, but the doors were locked,” Lewand said. “We forgot nobody had a room key because we were in our boxers.”

While the veterans ran, Portage County Clothing Center collected the abandoned clothing. Rider said the clothing will be donated to the veteran charity organization Freedom House.

“We had about 10 veterans run,” said Tiffany Hawley, the events coordinator of the Veterans Club. “But we had many people pass by that gave their shirts or clothes.”

The Kent State Veterans Club provided refreshments for anyone stopping by and awarded FlashPerks, Hawley said.

“I thought it was fun,” said Brandon Crites, a sophomore integrated health studies major. “I wish there would have been a better turnout.”

Hawley said she was happy to have a lot of clothes donated and hopes to have more participants next year.

Contact Leanne O’Neill at [email protected].