The IRONMAN Foundation to Spotlight Fallen U.S. Military Service Member While Also Distributing More Than $50,000 in Grants During 2022 Certified Piedmontese Beef IRONMAN Tulsa
May 17, 2022
- Gold Star Initiative Athlete and Marine Corps Staff Sergeant, Chris Abner, will carry American flag during run portion of the triathlon in honor of fallen friend
TULSA, Okla. (May 17, 2022) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Fallen United States Marine, Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris will be remembered, and his family honored at the 2022 Certified Piedmontese Beef IRONMAN® Tulsa triathlon as part of The IRONMAN® Foundation Gold Star Initiative. Through the Gold Star Initiative, athletes who have served in the U.S. military are selected to carry the American flag during the run portion of a full-distance IRONMAN or half-distance IRONMAN 70.3® triathlon in honor of a fallen U.S. military soldier and present it to a Gold Star Family (a family of an American soldier killed in battle).
Staff Sergeant Chris Abner will take on the IRONMAN triathlon Sunday, May 22, 2022, representing The IRONMAN Foundation Gold Star Initiative. Abner served in the United States Marine Corps from 2002 to 2016 as a Marine Corps Infantry unit leader. He will carry the American flag during the run portion of the race in honor of his friend, Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris who was killed on October 8, 2007, while conducting combat operations in Qaim, Iraq. Abner was with Burris at the time he was killed. Burris was 22 years old at the time of his death.
In addition to carrying the American flag in honor of Lance Corporal Burris, Abner will present the flag to Lance Corporal Burris’ parents at the finish line.
“This is such a special and meaningful program for us because not only do we get to support our race communities, but we get to play a part in the healing process of those families who have lost a loved one while in active duty for our country,” said Audra Tassone-Indeck, Executive Director of The IRONMAN Foundation.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity to honor my dear friend Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris through the Gold Star Initiative program. This journey, through my training and preparation for the race, has made a huge difference for not just me, but everyone who served with Jeremy,” said Staff Sergeant Chris Abner.
Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris decorations include a Purple Heart Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, and Navy Sea Service Deployment Medal. While Staff Sergeant Abner’s decorations include a Purple Heart Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Achievement Medal (3), and Good Conduct Medal (3), Iraqi Campaign Medal with 4 stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (4), Presidential Unit Citation, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
For more information on The IRONMAN Foundation Gold Star Initiative, find a list of 2022 Gold Star Initiative races and how to apply as an athlete or family visit ironmanfoundation.org/gold-star-initiative.
In addition to the Gold Star Initiative, continuing its Race For Change™ initiative in Tulsa, The IRONMAN Foundation will distribute more than $50,000 in charitable giveback to non-profit initiatives and groups in the greater Tulsa area. This distribution includes $5,000 for swim lessons at the YMCA of Greater Tulsa for local youth. Last year, The IRONMAN Foundation’s Race For Change™ initiative kicked off in Tulsa with a partnership with YMCA of Greater Tulsa and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs of Tulsa to address barriers that might prevent Black athletes and other diverse groups from participating in triathlons. This year’s grant funding brings The IRONMAN Foundation’s total historical giveback in the greater Tulsa region to more than $115,000.
The Race For Change campaign was launched in 2020 with an initial pledge of $1 million to support programming that will help ensure equity for athletes in the sport of triathlon, and in the communities where IRONMAN athletes and first-time hopefuls live, train, and race. Through Race For Change, The IRONMAN Group and IRONMAN Foundation are working to recognize, empower, and sustain the next generation of great triathlon competitors, coaches and history-makers. For more information about Race For Change visit, www.ironmanfoundation.org/raceforchange/.
ABOUT THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION
The IRONMAN Foundation creates positive, tangible change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to the community. Since 2003, over $55,000,000 has been provided through giveback programs led by The IRONMAN Foundation to more than 10,000 local, regional, national, and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN® and Rock’ n’ Roll® Running Series participants are powerfully linked to the community and together help leave a positive legacy behind in race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including Team IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town®, Your Journey Your Cause®, and Race For Change™, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.
ABOUT THE IRONMAN GROUP
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf®, UTMB® World Series events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, Epic Series™ mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events including Haute Route®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com/about-ironman-group.
Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education, and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data, and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery, and Reddit. For more information, visit www.advance.com.
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