By PETE DELEA
Daily News-Record 3/14/19
HARRISONBURG — Three years ago, Chad Layman started the Fine Earth Adventure Race to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
With three successful races under his belt, it was time for Layman, the owner of Harrisonburg’s Fine Earth landscaping, to hand the reins over to another organization, the Harrisonburg Police Foundation, according to the foundation.
“The bigger it got, the more it stretched their resources,” said Auxiliary Lt. Robert Barnard, who serves as the foundation’s chairman.
Layman couldn’t be reached for comment.
The race is held each summer at the Harper-Presgraves Training Facility on Greendale Road in Harrisonburg. The facility is home to HPD’s SWAT team’s obstacle course, which is the main draw for the race.
Last year, the race attracted more than 700 participants, several thousand spectators and raised roughly $127,000 for the Florida- based K9s For Warriors. The program provides service dogs to veterans as a way of helping them deal with PTSD.
Moving forward, Barnard said, the money raised will remain local, to supplement the police department’s annual budget.
Barnard said funds will go toward projects and causes that might not receive city budget funding. For example, he said, if a police dog dies during the year, there’s likely no money in the budget to replace the K-9.
The foundation can raise money for a replacement.
Barnard said the foundation plans to use the bulk of the race proceeds to fund Chief Eric English’s plans to create youth programs in the city.
English, who became chief on Sept. 10, has said he wants to get police more involved with after-school activities for children.
“This chief really wants to help kids,” Barnard said.
This year’s race is scheduled for June 22. The foundation plans to announce a registration date in the coming weeks.
VA Momentum will continue to help organize the race.