BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It was a chilly morning, but that didn't stop hundreds from putting on their tennis shoes and running for a cause in the Buffalo State Alumni Association Bengal 5k run. For one Buffalo man, it was an especially important race.
"I put that pack on and am running 3 miles, it's no big deal, but there's a different sense of responsibility and different sense of commitment that goes with that pack," said Retired Sergeant First Class Dan Fontera.
Different because each pound inside the pack weighs heavy on his heart.
"This backpack carries fifty names. There's more than fifty people from Western New York, across all the counties, that lost their life in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Frontera.
Sgt. Frontera will be running 50 miles, in 50 races to not only remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but so there will also be a place that will permanently bear their names.
"It's a brown granite "I" for Iraq with all the names inscribed on it, those individuals who lost their lives. A brown granite off-set "A" to represent the mountains of Afghanistan with the names inscribed there and a third piece which is dedicated to all Western New Yorkers," he said.
Sgt. Frontera is raising money for the memorial to be placed at Buffalo's waterfront.
"Someone needs to make sure we aren't just waiting for this to show up we need to put this on the waterfront so their families have closure and peace," he said.
For runners alongside Sgt. Frontera, he is an inspiration.
"It was really saying a lot about him as a person," said Krissy Dipasquale who participated in the race.
"It was pretty amazing. I'm am just proud," said runner Tom Dipasquale.
To find out more about Sgt. Fontera's efforts head to his Facebook page .
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