On Saturday, August 6 over 1,000 runners and walkers came to the Menomonee Valley to participate in the Friends of the Hank Aaron State Trail 5K Run/Walk which was sponsored in part by Joy Global. Proceeds from the event are dedicated to preserving the 12-mile long Hank Aaron State Trail which runs along the backside of Joy Global’s property in Milwaukee.
More than 1,000 people participated in the event that benefits the Friends of Hank Aaron State Trail to preserve the 12-mile long state trail. The runners started at Miller Park, headed for the Menomonee River Valley, passed the new Three Bridges Park and finished along the river by the Klement’s Sausage Haus back at the stadium.
Donning their events shirts showcasing their “Olympic gold medal” over 100 employees, family and friends represented Joy Global. Whether running, walking or in a stroller, members of the Joy Global team enjoyed sun filled skies, a cool breeze and beautiful scenery along the Trail and through Three Bridges Park. Three Bridges Park is one of the newest parks in the city and Joy Global was proud to sponsor its development as it reclaimed land in the neighborhood, providing greater access to fishing and kayaking as well as extending the Trail.
Each year the event attracts long time Joy Global employees and those new to the company. Senior Principal Engineer Dave Wendt has been participating in the 5K for years. “I usually do two or three events a year to keep motivated and with the company sponsorship and involvement with the Hank Aaron State Trail it has been a great event to put on my schedule.” Dave placed in the top three in his age division this year and he’s motivated to keep Joy Global on top. “I have been involved with the Hank Aaron run for many of the 17 years it has been taking place and it has been fun to try to keep Joy Global in the top five fastest teams. Last year we were 3rd overall with only local racing clubs beating us out. This year we lost some of our faster runners so we slipped to 5th place.” Competition literally runs through Dave’s family, “Since I started running the Hank Aaron my daughter has been running with me. She’s also quite competitive, she ran for the Badgers in college, so it is challenging and fun to see who can out smart each other to get the best finishing time. This year I ran out of tricks and could not defeat my daughter. While watching others finish the race I saw a father trying to out sprint his two young sons and it made me smile, I yelled out in support of the father who needed all the support he could get.”
A newcomer to the event, Matt Beaudry, Director-Global Service Support, also saw the event as an opportunity to engage his family in something fun. “For me it was twofold – from a wellness perspective, it was good to get my parents, wife, and children all participating in a 5K. From a company perspective, it was great to see all the efforts of our employees and sponsorship by Joy Global – I am proud to be a part of an organization dedicated to supporting the local community.”
For both employees, the event provided a nice showcase of a valued community resource. “Before, when I worked at the Orchard Street facility, I did not use the trail. Since moving to National Avenue I try to walk the trail every day during lunch. It is a nice break, quiet and I always like to stop on the bridge to overlook the river” shared Wendt. “I had not used the Hank Aaron State Trail before” added Beaudry, “I was very impressed by how well it was developed and maintained. It was great to hear how involved Joy Global employees have been through the years to get it to this state.”
The Hank Aaron State Trail is valued amongst Joy Global employees and the Greater Milwaukee community. Thousands of people walk, run and bike the Trail and it serves as a connector, making the city and nature more accessible. Joy Global is proud to be a longtime supporter of the Hank Aaron State Trail, not only through sponsorship and involvement in events like the 5K but also through our annual stewardship and clean up each summer.