Memorial Day Gold Star Garden 5K still on with changes to ensure social distancing

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YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – The 10th Annual Gold Star Garden 5K in York still happened Monday, but with some changes to ensure people could participate while staying socially distanct.

It wasn’t a timed race this year. Participants arrived at the garden between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. to pick up their t-shirt and registration. They then took on the course at their own pace.

The race raised money to maintain the garden, which is a memorial dedicated to all soldiers.

Cher Kondor founded it after her son Martin Kondor died serving our country in Iraq in 2004.

In his notebooks, she found how important a core set of values were to him.

In the garden, you see different areas sectioned off as a nod to each of those values, including courage, duty and service.

Cher Kondor says this a place where veterans and their loved ones can go to reflect and find peace.

“Gold Star Garden was my personal way with dealing with my grief that would help other people and will continue long after I’m gone,” said Cher Kondor.

“It’s a little bit different because I feel sorry for the mothers who have lost their sons because I know who they are now. It’s just not a name. It’s a person,’ said Mary Slutman, a Gold Star Mom. Her son Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, who served in the Marines, died last year.

Community members ran, walked or biked the 5K course, or received information about a 9-mile tour of memorials.

“It passes by every memorial in the City of York,” said Jeff Hines, who is on the Gold Star Garden Committee. “We kind of call it the war and peace run because it goes by 13 war memorials.”

Along the garden are the names of all of the Pennsylvania soldiers fallen in the War on Terror.

“Everybody has a little whole in their heart that needs to be patched up,” said Cher Kondor. “This is a great place to start that process.”

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