Jingle Bell Jog set for Dec. 8 (SLIDESHOW)

Published: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 01:13 PM.

In Fort Walton Beach last year, 1,300 people signed up to run from Uptown Station, across the Brooks Bridge and then down Santa Rosa Boulevard on Okaloosa Island.

This year, the group has set a huge goal, Brownlee said. It has purchased 2,000 T-shirts for potential participants and hopes to draw an even larger crowd to the same route.

The Army 7th Special Forces employs about 2,200 soldiers. Currently, between 600 and 800 of them are deployed to Afghanistan and a similar number are serving in Central and South America, Brownlee said.

The Special Forces Association Chapter 7 offers support to those soldiers and about 4,000 of their family members.

“Chapter 7 was established to do things right by our soldiers and their families,” Brownlee said. “It doesn’t matter if they’re Green Berets or support soldiers, our motto is ‘it’s a family business.’”

That support extends from purchasing food and providing child care for family events to helping families after a soldier is killed in combat.

For example, the association was able to help Sgt. Jesse Britton after her husband, 25-year-old Staff Sgt. Andrew Britton-Mihalo, also with the Special Forces group, was killed in Afghanistan in April. It purchased items for a memorial and had a large portrait of Britton-Mihalo printed and framed for his family.

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