VALOR holds series of events including 5K race to celebrate Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 5-12

The new generation of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are eager to give back to their communities, even though they, and their needs, are sometimes invisible to the general population.

To honor their service, raise awareness of veterans in the area and give them support, students in the Wake Forest University School of Law Veterans Advocacy Law Organization (VALOR) will hold a series of events during Veterans Awareness Week, Nov. 5-12.

The students will collect canned goods for homeless veterans, distribute yellow ribbons on campus, help homeless veterans file VA benefits claims and honor veteran law students and faculty at a reception.

The week’s events will culminate with a 5K race on Saturday, Nov. 12, beginning at 9 a.m. in front of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library. Proceeds from the race will benefit Bethesda Center for the Homeless to help homeless veterans there. The race is open to all runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels. Registration for the race is $20 in advance or $25 on race day. To register for the 5K, go to

VALOR is a new organization on campus that was created  last spring by law students to recognize and support recent veterans. VALOR has about 50 members and plans to hold events throughout the year.

North Carolina has one of the highest veteran populations in the country, although non-military families don’t always have a chance to interact with those in military service. For some veterans, struggles with disabilities, financial burdens and substance abuse, often a result of their service, are a fact of life.

“While fewer families today may be directly connected to the military, veterans’ issues affect everyone in the community,” said Mike Miranda (’13), a veteran and VALOR’s pro bono committee chair. “Today’s veterans are coming home and branching out in every direction. They are in education, law, business, politics, medicine, entertainment and any other sphere you can think of.”

Miranda served five years in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. He earned two Bronze Stars and a host of other awards during his military service.