CRESTVIEW — Firefighters in full gear and supporters in more practical attire took to the streets near the Crestview Community Center and the sidewalks around The Green out in front of the Commerce Drive facility Nov. 23 and got some exercise for a good cause.


The Help the Homeless Day events were an outgrowth of Mayor JB Whitten’s city homelessness initiative, announced in August. In addition to seeking sponsorships for the walk and paying a donation for the run, participants brought socks for the Crestview Area Shelter for the Homeless (CASH), which was the event’s beneficiary.


“This was our first Walk for the Homeless and based on remarks by the organizers, sponsors, participants, and (CASH Director) Ann Sprague, it won’t be the last,” Whitten said.


Between donations, run registrations and walk sponsorships, more than $2,000 was raised for the shelter. Plus, three carloads of new socks, clothing and non-perishable goods were donated to CASH, he said.


Prior to the walk and run — which included a challenge among city departments — “our Citizen of the Year, Kadance Fredrickson, spoke to the crowd about her experiences and why helping the homeless is so important,” Whitten said.


Fredrickson, who had a tough childhood herself, is a tireless community advocate for the homeless, the mayor added, which contributed to her selection for the annual recognition as Citizen of the Year.


Sponsors of the event included Tees and More, which provided 100 T-Shirts; Flex Fitness, which supplied prizes for first, second and third place in both the male and female divisions, then provided a check for $500 directly to CASH; and David’s Catfish House, which provided snacks and water before the race and full catfish meals after the race.


Help the Homeless Day was organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation Programs staff, whom Mayor Whitten praised for supporting his initiative.


“Parks and Recreation did a superb job of pulling this event together,” he said.