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Vineyard-TrailEric and Emily Harris, owners of a beautiful 2-acre vineyard and winery near Roanoke, Indiana, along with owner Kevin Croy from Fleet Feet Running Store-Coventry Shopping Center, Fort Wayne were the gracious sponsors of the Vineyard 5K Trail race on Saturday, October 4, 2014.
Emily said, “We want for everyone to have an unforgettable and enjoyable experience here at Two EEs Winery.” And so the plans began back in March of 2014 to blaze a trail through 40-acres of unmarked territory on Two EEs’ property.

After assessing the heavily wooded 40-acres on his Gator, Eric said, “It looks like we need to contact Junior from IronClad Excavating. This job is too big for us.” Junior was a blessing to all. He, along with myself, trodded back and forth, back and forth, to find the best path for a 5K trail.

Now a friendly romp through the woods, wasn’t quite so friendly months ago. At one time or another, we would get lost! Junior told me, at one point he jumped off his excavating equipment to check out an area, turned around and couldn’t find where he left his tractor. Yes, the woods were that dense. At another time I was out marking a new area of the trail with neon colored tape so Junior could start cutting, and found myself lost as well. I ended up a couple miles away from Two EEs Winery…I followed the corn rows and found a nearby farm house, a very nice elderly lady gave me a ride back.

After walking time after time, the 3.1 miles, to perfect the course, the day finally came when I could actually “run” the trail! A very emotional race for me…as I enjoyed the sights along a course, I designed.

Much of the course cuts through the woods and crosses the flowing stream. Showcasing the beauty of Two EEs property, the path we ran on Saturday was blazoned in orange and yellow fallen leaves. There were hills aplenty to climb. But that didn’t stop the determined runners. They were running not only for that wine slushy at the finish line, but also for a good cause-Our Turn To Serve.

The Vineyard 5K Trail Race was proud to help our local veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Brain Trauma injuries. Our Turn To Serve is a local non-profit organization formed in 2008 by David Harris, Eric’s father, to assist veterans with disabilities using a service dog. The uniqueness is that these service dogs come from ASPCA. These are the dogs that could have been euthanized if it weren’t for this organization rescuing them to take on a purpose. With the help of service dogs many of the soldier’s “triggers” can be redirected. These working dogs are trained to turn on a light in a dark room, soothe with a nuzzle after a bad nightmare, search an area, and even provide space in a crowded spot giving the veteran his space. These dogs are trained to “watch their wounded warriors back.”

We had the honor of having Army Veteran Steve Thomas, who suffers from PTSD, and his service dog Lady with us at the race. Steve was a medic in the Army. “We were always on a mission,” he said of his deployment in Iraq. “Every day we would have to pull the armored plates off the aircraft so we could wash them down because there was so much blood, all over everything.”

Runners finished their last half mile of this challenging trail race running through the vineyards which were nestled on a hillside. Waiting for the runners as they crossed the finish line, was an etched wine glass with the Vineyard 5K logo. There was also a band playing, fruit, and cheese perfectly paired to go with the wine slushy that was available for those over 21.

Results of the race were posted. The timed Vineyard 5K trail race was won Overall by Anna Rudicel, 24, with a time of 22:56.5. Male Overall was Jon Beasley. Female Masters Overall winner was Susan McGrade. Male Masters Overall was James Frazier.

We can’t wait to run another race and raise a glass with you in the spring of 2015!

Cindy Cornwell

Cindy Cornwell

She started her newspaper career over 10 years ago beginning as a sales executive, progressing as copy editor, graphic and paper designer, and former Executive Editor. She enjoys writing about the great place to live, shop, work and play; Waynedale. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer