Tampa race will benefit Gold Star families

An organization that helps families of fallen soldiers is holding a race in Tampa, benefitting Gold Star families.

Retired Army Veteran Steve Seamen and active duty Air Force airman Vanessa Valdez are running with purpose.

"Freedom isn't free," said Valdez. "And that's the ultimate sacrifice. We sign that blank check."

The two are taking part in the second annual Freedom 4 Miler run in Tampa.

The race was started by the nonprofit "Believe With Me" in 2015 in Tequesta, Florida. The organization offers support to Gold Star families.

"The family sacrifices so much," said Seaman. "The moving, the deployments, taking care of the family. And then they're the ones who are left behind with the hurt and the pain, and they need that support just as much."

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The special run is a way to pay tribute and remember the sacrifices fallen soldiers and their families made. It's also an educational experience where runners can learn about the individual soldiers they are honoring.

"Every year we select four service members who have fallen for various reasons, and we run as that person. So when we're running, we're running for the spirit. And every mile is actually dedicated to that fallen service member," Seaman explained.

Valdez is running for a family that lost their daughter in the fight for freedom.

"I want them to know that their daughter mattered and what everyone does and sacrifices. It matters to me and to the people that I serve with and to the United States," Valdez explained.

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The money raised from the event is used to buy Christmas presents for Gold Star children.

Right now there are 2,500 kids on the list who will be receiving stacks of Christmas gifts.

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"It's great to have an organization that still says, 'hey, you're still part of the family,'" said Seaman. "We haven't forgotten about you. We don't forget them and we don't forget you."

The race will be held later this month at Al Lopez Park. For more information, click here.