FIRST RESPONDERS & MILITARY The IRONMAN Foundation creates positive change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to the communities where we live, train and race. Since 2003, over $55 million has been provided through giveback programs led by the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 10,000 local, regional, national, and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN, Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series, and UTMB participants are powerfully linked to the community and together help leave a positive legacy behind on race communities long after race day. Operation Gold Star Operation Gold Star gives active-duty military and veterans the chance to team up and honor Gold Star Families by carrying the American flag during the run portion of select IRONMAN 70.3 events and presenting it to a Gold Star Family at the finish line. "When I was selected to be the Operation Gold Star Athlete for IRONMAN Tulsa, I made contact with Marines that I hadn't had contact with in years and it showed them that their friend had not been forgotten. When I asked the family if they would be willing to participate in the race they were absolutely electrified that their son had not been forgotten 15 years after his death. There is no better way to remember individuals that gave their lives for their country, and the joy that it brings the families and other athletes are glorious" - Marine Staff Sergeant, Chris Abner. Become an Operation Gold Star Athlete or Family Military Care Packages New in 2023, The IRONMAN Foundation will pack Military Care Packages in select IRONMAN Village and Rock 'n' Roll Health & Fitness Expos during the race season. The packages will consist of hygiene products and snacks, and be distributed to deserving individuals such as active military members overseas or homeless veterans. Athletes and guests are invited to stop by the IRONMAN Foundation booth to pack a care package and write a personal note to the recipients. See Where You Can Pack a Military Care Package Life-Saving Equipment Grants "We are so happy to continue to award lifesaving equipment at such an amazing event,” said Robin Peters, Executive Director for Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. “Each IRONMAN race city provides a wonderful venue and we are honored to be part of making the race community safer with our support of their first responders." The IRONMAN Foundation has provided first responder groups (Police, Fire Departments, and more) from many race communities with grant funding for the purchase of critical, life-saving equipment such as rescue boats, Jaws of Life, UTVs, and much more.