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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • VA employee runs for charity drive

  • As an employee of the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, A.J. Mooney splits his time between the VA hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka. His commute generally doesn't involve him running the distance between the two hospitals. But he ran from one hospital to the other Wednesday to raise awareness during a federal employee fundraising campaign.
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  • As an employee of the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, A.J. Mooney splits his time between the VA hospitals in Leavenworth and Topeka. His commute generally doesn't involve him running the distance between the two hospitals. But he ran from one hospital to the other Wednesday to raise awareness during a federal employee fundraising campaign.
    Mooney is the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System's coordinator for the annual Combined Federal Campaign, which raises money for many charities including some in Leavenworth.
    Mooney also runs ultramarathons, which are longer than standard 26.2-mile length for marathons. Wednesday, he ran a 100-kilometer route, or about 62 miles, between the two hospitals to raise awareness for the current CFC.
    He said the fundraising goal for the employees of the two hospitals is $112,000.
    "It's a tough time to ask federal employees for money," Mooney said, pointing to furloughs and general economic conditions.
    He said employees of the two hospitals reached 97 percent of the fundraising goal last year and hopes they can at least match this during the current campaign.
    Mooney began the run at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday at the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka. He arrived at the Eisenhower VA Medical Center around 2:50 p.m., where he was greeted by fellow employees.
    Mooney, who serves as an administrative officer for Behavioral Health for the VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System, said this was his 40th ultramarathon and his third 100-kilometer run.
    Mooney said he's used to running on trails.
    "This was a lot of road," he said of Wednesday's route.
    Mooney, who lives in Topeka, said he took "hiking breaks" during his 62-mile run and ate things such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and power gels along the way. He also drank a lot of water.
    Another VA employee made the journey with Mooney in a support vehicle.
    Mooney said he probably won't make the same run for next year's Combined Federal Campaign. But he said there is interest among other VA employees in a shorter five or 10-kilometer run or perhaps a run by a relay team.
    "I'll run in that capacity," he said.
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