Alexandria City Council honored Brendan O’Toole for his efforts supporting U.S. military veterans and their families through his The Run for Veterans project with a proclamation on Tuesday night.
O’Toole, an Alexandria native and former Marine Corps sergeant, has raised nearly $300,000 for veteran support efforts since he left Oceanside, Calif., on Nov. 11, 2012 to begin a 3,600-mile run across the country to honor the men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The run made a stop in O’Toole’s hometown this week, giving family, friends and local officials a chance to honor the 2007 T.C. Williams grad.
“What you’re doing on behalf of veterans, not only to uplift them but to give them a leg up, it’s certainly an inspiration,” Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille said.
O’Toole has averaged about 15 miles a day since he left California. His support team includes childhood friends, including John Taylor, son of Alexandria Toyota dealer Jack Taylor. The Taylors donated vehicles to support the run.
The dealership will host a Run for Veterans fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4. All donations from the event will go toward the three organizations the run is supporting.
While honoring O’Toole, Euille announced a new initiative from the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership to promote veteran businesses in the city. The Alexandria Veterans Business Enterprise Center will promote the city as an ideal location for veterans and will provide assistance to veterans looking to start a business or start a new career.
“It’s great to hear Alexandria has a group forming here to support veterans,” said O’Toole, who served overseas in Afghanistan, Haiti and off the east coast of Africa. “Our group is one year and one year only, but we’re looking to continuing our veterans advocacy work. We’ll be looking to helping you guys out in anyway possible.”
The Run for Veterans will end on Veterans Day in Portland, Maine.