November 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM CST - Updated July 2 at 1:30 AM
BILOXI, MS (WLOX)
Veterans Day has passed, but veterans are recognized daily. Saturday morning, despite the cold, more than 300 people came out for the second annual 5K for A.J.
"This is a reminder of who we are as airmen. We take care of each other through the tough times and the great times," 335th Training Squadron Commander Betsy Ross said.
Ross says being an airman is all about taking care of each other, no matter what challenges or adversities life throws your way.
A 5K event that started a year ago to benefit retired Master Sgt. Albert Jackson has turned into something even bigger. The event now raises money for organizations that support injured vets.
"To get the community involved, to see what veterans have sacrificed and to see the immense courage and motivation that these folks have while they're on active duty but also after they're off of active duty," Ross said.
Jackson was active duty for 18 years before he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome one year ago. The genetic disorder left him paralyzed, but the support from his military family helped keep his spirits up.
"As a military community, we've always been very strong on being there and taking care of each other, and it really came through and showed with these events," Jackson said.
The strong support from each airman shows they really have a grasp on the motto “service before self.”
"That motto is something that's called to us the first step we take into basic training. It's looking out for the wingman next to you, the person next to you," Jackson said.
"Being a wingman in general is important throughout your career, and it's just very important. It builds comradery and it really makes us closer as a group," said runner Micah Shenk.
The 5K event brought in more than $5,000 Saturday. All donations will go to the Disabled American Veterans Charity.