When the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York fell on Sept. 11, Arizona Cardinals star Pat Tillman felt inspired to put his NFL career on hold and enlist in the U.S. Army with his brother, Kevin, to serve his country. His life and career as an Army Ranger were tragically cut short by friendly fire while Pat was in Afghanistan. To honor his memory and sacrifice, the Tillman family established the Pat Tillman Foundation, which supports the education and leadership development of Veterans and military spouses. Every April, the Foundation also holds its popular Pat’s Run event, drawing athletes and amateurs alike to walk or run in his memory.
TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest) is a major sponsor of the event and was one of the original sponsors when the Run started in 2005, back when there were only about 5,000 participants. Many TriWest employees eagerly participate in the event and show their support.
This year, Pat’s run had more than 20,000 participants, not including the thousands of others who volunteered to hand out water and coordinate at the starting line, finish line and every point in between. Of those thousands, 14 TriWest employees participated in the event, which was the first in-person event in two years, as the run had been limited to virtual activities due to COVID-19.
Glenn Gray, TriWest Director of Customer Care and Community Relations, believes sponsorship of Pat’s Run is noteworthy. “Keeping Pat’s history of ‘service before self’ alive and honoring his legacy is important,” he says. “The event is also widely attended by active duty Service members and Veterans in our community, so this is yet another way TriWest can connect with the Veterans we are so privileged to serve.”
Waqas Malik, a Business Intelligence Analyst for TriWest, was especially excited to participate this year. “It’s good to get to see everyone after two years,” Malik says. “Thanks to TriWest for helping sponsor it and to motivate me. Otherwise I’d just be at home being lazy!”
The fitness component of the Run is also a draw for those who like to compete. For Malik, who has lost more than 50 pounds while taking better care of his health, participating in the race has inspired him to train to run his first half-marathon in six months. “Pat’s Run gave me the boost I needed to finally commit to running a longer race,” he says.
Pat’s Run closely aligns with TriWest’s sole purpose of being “On a Mission to Serve®” the health care needs of the military and Veteran communities.
As a company, TriWest offers employees Volunteer Time Off benefits to give back to the communities it serves. Not only do employees work toward a common purpose each day, but they do so with benefits that make a difference in their lives. For those looking for opportunities to be part of a company that cares, visit the TriWest Careers page for more information.
Whether people participate in Pat’s Run by walking, running or volunteering, they’re showing Service members and Veterans alike how much they are supported.