BUCKEYE, AZ — Just days away from testing his physical limits, Lee Perreria is meeting some of the men he’ll soon be representing.
Just before sunrise Saturday, Lee will begin a 24-hour run that will crisscross the Valley, up and down some of our most famous hiking trails, and cover 100 miles.
“My grandfather served 30 years in the Army, my other grandfather served five years in the Marines,” said Perreria.
In that spirit of service, Perreria will be running for the veterans of the Buckeye VFW Post 53.
“Our main focus is veterans helping veterans,” said Air Force veteran Wayne Carpenter.
Carpenter says VFW Posts play an essential role in our communities. A safe place for camaraderie and unwavering support for those that served our country.
“There is no limit to what we will do for a veteran that comes to us asking for help or if a neighbor or if his wife asks us, or her husband asks us for help,” said Carpenter. “If a veteran needs a mortgage payment made, we’ll pay for it, electricity bill done. Mental health support, whatever it is, that’s why we’re here.”
However, the aging building of Post 53 was in need of some costly upgrades. The facility had to improve exits by installing double doors in particular areas. It also needed to install a wheelchair ramp from the rear parking lot to allow better access for its members.
“Wow, look at this, this wasn’t here last time,” said Perreria admiring the new doors.
“No, it was not,” said Carpenter.
Perreria is using his run to help pay for it all, raising money from donations through his nonprofit 16x16. Over the past few years, his running campaigns have raised money for causes like childhood cancer and domestic violence survivors.
“I believe in my heart that nobody sacrifices more than you guys,” Perreria said to the men.
“You might prove that wrong this weekend,” responded Carpenter as they all erupted in laughter.
No doubt he’ll give it his all. Through the pain, reminding himself, who it’s all for.
“It’s an absolute honor,” said Perreria.