Tampa International Airport started this year’s United Way Suncoast giving campaign off just as they have for the past several years, with the TPA 5K on the Runway. Now in its sixth year, the race took place on runway 10/28, giving participants a unique vantage point. Limited to 2000 runners, this year’s race sold out within the first few weeks! On the day of the race, the weather was perfect as runners gathered at the starting line, each step taken representing someone in our community who would be helped thanks to everyone who made the race possible.
A special mention for all the hard work and coordination goes to this year’s Co-Chairs, Melissa Solberg, Sustainability and Wellness Manager, and Airport Police Chief Charlie Vazquez. Both Melissa and Chief Charlie were instrumental in the planning and coordination from the very beginning, even leading this year’s runners’ warm-up. Just as important as all the behind the scenes work, they were responsible for getting the United Way Suncoast message out to all the employees and going above and beyond to ensure that every facet of the airport’s campaign met the high standards that have been set in years past. Chief Charlie summed up the attitude of the entire airport staff in a few powerful words; “If I’m in, I’m all in.”
Along with the race, the airport also hosted an employee BBQ with music from TPA’s very own in-house band. This BBQ provided a platform for the co-chairs to talk about the partnership between Tampa International Airport, United Way Suncoast and our combined community impact. The campaign concluded with an ice cream social where United Way Suncoast staff had an opportunity to thank everyone for their participation and support throughout the campaign.
TPA continued its tradition of raising more dollars than previous years. This year, they raised more than $155,000 from both their annual 5K Runway race and their internal giving campaign to benefit United Way Suncoast and our work in the community. We can’t thank the entire TPA team enough for their generosity and commitment to making our region a better place, as demonstrated year after year.