Huntington’s Kathy Wagner is half runner, half United Way of Long Island supporter and cheerleader. And, on Nov. 6 during the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon, she’ll combine those traits in the name of Team Mission United, a group of nine runners set to participate in the 26.2-mile race for the 135,000 veterans and military families on Long Island.
“This is a huge race supporting a huge cause, it’s awesome,” said Wagner, generalist manager for the Long Island region of Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
Wagner and her teammates have set out to make 2016 the biggest Enterprise giving year in the history of the company’s involvement with United Way of Long Island. Participants have set a goal of raising $20,000 for United Way of Long Island’s veterans programs, and need support.
Team Mission United is part of the Mission United program of United Way of Long Island, which is an official charity partner of the upcoming marathon through the five boroughs. The Mission United program focuses on employment services, education, financial services, health and housing support.
As head of the human resources department for Enterprise on Long Island, Wagner has run the United Way campaign for the car rental agency for close to 10 years.
As the leader of the Enterprise United Way of Long Island campaign, Wagner generates employee enthusiasm by speaking about United Way, focusing in on both YouthBuild and Mission United. Mission United draws participation from 90-percent of Enterprise’s employees on Long Island.
Wagner began running in 2000, when she was a student at SUNY Albany. She said “it was a challenge seeing if I could beat my best times and seek out new and exciting routes to run.”
A few years ago, Wagner began to run in competitive races, competing in both 5K and 10K events, half marathons, mud runs and warrior dashes. The upcoming marathon will be her first.
When Eric Schonhoff, Enterprise’s regional vice president, asked her if she would like the chance to compete in the marathon on behalf of Enterprise, and in support of Mission United, the answer was an instantaneous yes.
Wagner said, “I am excited that Enterprise has the faith in me as a runner and employee to represent the company. Eric Schonhoff is also a big advocate for Mission United and since he came to the Long Island region of Enterprise in 2013 he has been 100 percent supportive of United Way of Long Island.”
Schonhoff, who also serves on the United Way of Long Island board of directors, added, “Not only is it great to back a seasoned runner like Kathy, but she also deserves accolades for putting her heart and soul behind Mission United and the entire campaign.”
For more information about Team Mission United, or to donate, visit Unitedwayli.org.