Frankenmuth River Place Shops’ Holmes to Run 100 Miles for Vets

1 Sep

Frankenmuth River Place Shops’ Holmes to Run 100 Miles for Vets

Employee aims to raise $100,000 for Wounded Warrior Project

While Steve Holmes never served in the military, his sense of duty to those that have is sending him on a mission of sacrifice and perseverance that will push him to his physical limits this fall.

The Frankenmuth River Place Shops employee is set to lead the Great Smoky Mountains 100-mile Run, Nov. 6 – 9 in Tennessee. Holmes’ goal is to present a $100,000 check to the Wounded Warrior Project based on donations from the run this Veteran’s Day.

“They put their lives on the line for us,” said Holmes, 60, a Millington resident. “A lot of them came back in pieces. I just want to give back and let them know, I appreciate it.” After retiring from General Motors, Holmes took a job in the grounds department of the Frankenmuth River Place Shops nearly two years ago.

“It’s a wonderful place to work,” he said. “The people are great and I get to meet folks from all over the world that visit Frankenmuth.”

Bavarian Inn Lodge, General Manager, Michael Zehnder said his company fully supports Holmes’ effort to help the veterans. “We’re pleased Steve took on this challenge,” he commented. “We encourage our employees to be active in causes they support.”

The idea for the run came together quickly. An avid runner, Holmes was out on one of his typical treks when he started thinking about the fact that he had never given anything for the freedom he had enjoyed his entire life. He also thought about his son, Steve Holmes, Jr., who had served and was active during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

After arriving back at home, he coincidently saw actor Bruce Willis giving an impassioned pitch for the Wounded Warrior Project on television. A veteran hiker of the Smoky Mountains, the idea for the run came to him in that instant. “We need to do this for them,” he said. “A lot can be done if everyone puts in a little bit of money.”

The Wounded Warrior Project serves veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound as a result of their military service on or after September 11, 2001. The organization funds combat stress recovery programs, physical health and wellness programs and economic empowerment via job training and educational services, among others.

Holmes began running after hanging up his boxing gloves in the late 1970s. He has competed in numerous runs over the years, including several marathons. These days, he’s busy training for the Great Smoky Mountains run.

He’s currently logging about 40 miles per week in runs that vary in length from 7 to 11 miles, Holmes said. He’ll ramp that mileage up to 50-60 miles per week by mid-September and then continue to train until a few days before the event.

All of the running keeps him fit, of course, but Holmes has also found it strengthens his marriage. “The more I run, the fewer things I do wrong” he said.

Holmes, Jr. and friend Nate Erdman will join him in Tennessee on the run, which will start some 28 miles north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and conclude at the Fontana Dam. “There’s not too many dads that have a kid who is willing to run 100 miles with them,” said Steve. “It means a lot.”

A check for 100 percent of the proceeds raised from the run will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project on Nov. 11 at the River Place Shops in Frankenmuth.

For more information about the run or to donate, please visit


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