Bay Shore resident and U.S. Army veteran Thomas DeKenipp has crossed the finish line in the TCS NYC Marathon and raised over $3,100 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans’ programs. The nonprofit was named an Official Charity Partner of the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon, which took place on Sunday, November 7, 2021.
Theresa A. Regnante, President & CEO of United Way of Long Island said this was the sixth year the not-for profit has been invited to join the race under Team Mission United. “United Way of Long Island is pleased once again to be named an official charity partner of the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon. We cheered on Thomas and all of the members of Team Mission United on their journey to the iconic finish line as they raised important funds to benefit Long Island veterans.”
United Way’s Team Mission United is a dedicated group of athletes who run for the over 95,000 veterans and military families on Long Island. Mission United is a critical initiative of United Way of Long Island that focuses on supporting veterans’ services. This includes the areas of employment readiness & training, emergency financial assistance, case management and housing development.
The 2021 Team Mission United runners collectively have raised over $31,000 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs. Leading sponsors include: AARP, BottomLine Technologies, Hiram Cohen & Sons Insurance, National Grid, New York Community Bank Foundation and Royal Star Associates. To help Thomas and his teammates continue their fundraising efforts visit: www.unitedwayli.org/teammissionunited
Thomas Dekenipp, Team Mission United Runner
An Army mechanic turned engineer turned marathon runner. This November, Thomas ran the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon as a member of Team Mission United…for the second time.
When Thomas enlisted in the US Army, he took to running and discovered he had a strong lung capacity. Within months Thomas became the leader of his troop’s group runs, setting the pace and keeping his fellow soldiers motivated.
Thomas served in the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Combat Aviation Brigade as a helicopter crew chief and an in-flight mechanic for six years. Upon active-duty retirement, he continued to serve as a civilian employee on the Army base in Afghanistan. When he returned to the States, Thomas struggled to make his military skills useful in the traditional workplace.
Despite these obstacles, Thomas was self-driven and found a new career path as a mechanical engineer. Today he continues to be self-driven as a member of Team Mission United. He is running to help other veterans acclimate to their surroundings post-active duty.
As he describes, “there’s an awkward transition period from military lifestyle to civilian lifestyle. So any organization, such as United Way of Long Island, that supports that transition is a needed resource.”
This year’s marathon was particularly special for Thomas, first he was running to support veterans… but also because the route went through his childhood neighborhood in Brooklyn.
About United Way of Long Island
United Way of Long Island advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on three key building blocks; health, education and financial stability. It is our priority to create equity across Long Island by investing in partnerships, helping the most vulnerable and at risk through organizations and programs that demonstrate raising the bar for fairness and equal access to services. Our organization provides a united solution and impact, fighting for families across Long Island. For more information about United Way of Long Island, please visit UnitedWayLI.org, or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.