Help SALUTE, Inc. take care of military families by taking part in fundraising run/walk

Help SALUTE, Inc. take care of military families by taking part in fundraising run/walk

SALUTE, Inc. was founded in 2003 by Will and Mary Beth Beiersdorf of Arlington Heights as a way to give back to military families who sacrifice so much.

Will, a Naval reservist, and Mary Beth knew firsthand not only the emotional stress of having someone serving overseas, but the financial strain it also can cause.

SALUTE, Inc. works with military families in need of financial assistance, whether that is help with everyday costs, such as mortgage or rent, transportation, groceries or utilities, or more specialized items like adaptive equipment for people who have been injured or laptops for those who want to look for a job or continue their education.

SALUTE also teams with treatment centers to make sure people returning from service have the proper help them need to return to civilian life, both physically and psychologically.

May is both National Military Appreciation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time for SALUTE to host its 2022 Salute to Service Run and Walk.

This fundraiser takes place Saturday, May 28, at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. There also is a virtual option available May 28-30.

Mary Beth Beiersdorf, executive director of SALUTE, Inc., talks about the organization's mission and the upcoming fundraiser.

Q: What is SALUTE, Inc.? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.

A: SALUTE provides everyday essentials to military personnel, veterans, and their families at the most critical time, offering assistance with housing costs, utility bills, car expenses, and food.

As a grass-roots community, the support and solutions we provide are tailored to the unique needs of each family and are made possible through the generous donors, sponsors, volunteers, health care professionals, and partners across the local community.

Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?

A: We are blessed to receive support from many sources, including sponsors, donors, and grants. But a large share of our funds are generated by the events we host, including the Salute to Service 5K Run/1-mile Walk this Memorial Day weekend and our Team SALUTE charity athletes that participate in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Q: How many people per year do you serve?

A: In 2021, we served 620 military families by providing more than $630,000 in financial assistance. Since our inception in 2003, we have proudly helped more than 18,000 veterans, military service personnel, and their family members, providing $6.1 million in emergency financial assistance.

Q: What are some of your programs?

A: Our small staff and extensive group of client advocates begin by listening to the stories of those who reach out to us. Our focus is primarily on providing short-term financial assistance that allows veterans and active military service personnel overcome barriers to treatment.

We are likely to help a family with rent or mortgage payments to prevent homelessness during a difficult time; pay for car repairs so a single mom can continue getting to work; take care of utility bills for a few months so a veteran can enter a short-term treatment program to heal emotional wounds; or cover medical bills when the infrastructure makes things difficult for those transitioning to civilian life to get prompt assistance.

We partner with leading hospitals and treatment centers to find the right solution to address physical, emotional, or psychological trauma. As this often requires relocating for several weeks or months, we provide personal and financial assistance to family members so that they can make treatment a priority without having to worry about housing, food, transportation, or other bills.

Q: Tell us about the 2022 Salute to Service Run and Walk.

A: After a two year hiatus, we are thrilled to bring back this long-standing tradition within the community.

The event kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St., Arlington Heights. Race day registration starts at 6:30 a.m.

Cost to participate in this fundraiser is $35 until May 21, $40 until May 27 for the 5K run/walk; $30 through May 21, $35 until May 27 for the 1-mile walk.

Packet pickup is at Runner's High 'n Tri, 121 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27.

We offer a certified 5K course through a scenic Arlington Heights neighborhood.

We know that, in many families, a pet dog is an integral member, especially for those dealing with trauma and recovery, so our one-mile walk this year will feature a Paws Division, in which families can bring their four-legged friend along.

All runners and walkers will receive a race goody bag and race T-shirt, and all of the four-legged entrants receive a special doggy treat bag, too.

Registration is now open at

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: Runners and walkers can "race at their own place" between May 28 and 30. They simply download the ASICS Runkeeper™ where they can sign up, track their own course, and submit results.

Cost to take part virtually is $40 through May 27.

We encourage everyone to visit our website and read the many stories of those who served our country that we have been able to assist. If inspired, you can then reach out to find some great volunteer opportunities we offer in a variety of roles.

Donations are always welcome at

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: Everyone can make a difference. Your donations help bridge the gaps with direct assistance to allow servicemen and women return to school, get to job interviews, complete health care appointments, and pay essential bills while re-establishing themselves back into the community.

Volunteers provide a place for these families to turn, helping them sort through difficult situations while trying to maintain a job, provide for a family, and heal from all types of trauma.

We use our race, Team SALUTE, our pizza parties, golf outings and other events to create joy and camaraderie so we can work as a team to care for those who sacrificed so much for our benefit.

Whether it is a donation of time or money, we believe that when you directly experience the results of your generosity, you will want to be more and more involved. We welcome your support.

• • •

Salute to Service 5K Run/1-mile Walk

What: SALUTE, Inc. fundraiser

When: Saturday, May 28; a virtual option is May 28-30

Where: Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St., Arlington Heights

Cost: $35 until May 21, $40 until May 27 for the 5K run/walk; $30 through May 21, $35 until May 27 for the 1-mile walk; virtual option $40



Michele Gibson and Rami Salahieh running with TEAM SALUTE in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which is another way SALUTE, Inc. makes money to give aid to military families. courtesy of SALUTE, Inc.
Racers get ready to head out during the 2019 SALUTE, Inc. Salute to Service Run and Walk. The event this year kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 28, at Recreation Park, 500 E. Miner St., Arlington Heights. courtesy of SALUTE, Inc.
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