New Jersey Teen Supporting Veterans by Running 50-Mile Ultra-Marathon

by Amy Myers

New Jersey native Michael Fererra is on a mission to raise money for homeless veterans by putting one foot in front of the other – for 50 miles.

Fererra has set out to complete the Pistol Creek Ultra-Marathon. His ultimate goal is to raise funds and awareness for our nation’s heroes that have lost their homes. The event will take place in Alcoa, Tennessee on March 19. However, the teen has braved the freezing Northeastern conditions of his hometown and trained for four months. At times, the water in his bottle will freeze over. He has also had to avoid black ice and ignore the stinging cold that runs down his limbs.

“Breathing in the cold air has caused me to panic, but staying calm and remembering why I am doing this keeps me going,” Ferrara told Fox News

The high school student began planning for the ultra-marathon began last year when he met with the CEO of VetREST, Lieutenant Colonel Robert F. Vicci, who retired from the military after serving for 34 years. According to the nonprofit’s website, their mission is to “mentor veterans while providing farming opportunity in safe and supportive environments where they can achieve wellness themselves and produce healthy food for our nation.”

“The plan is to show up, run and keep running until my watch says 50 miles,” Fererra shared.

Teen Raising Money for Veterans Hopes to One Day Join the Ranks

Fererra’s training for the ultra-marathon may have only started a few months ago. However, the noble student has been running and raising money for veterans for four years. Just last year, Fererra ran the Marine Corps Marathon for the nonprofit, Houses for Veterans.

“I really do want to help the veterans of our country,” he said. “They have put their blood, sweat and tears into fighting for our freedoms and for them to end up on the streets I think is totally unacceptable.” 

After he graduates, Fererra hopes to one day join the military himself and become one of our nation’s heroes. For now, though, he is happy to dedicate his efforts to the organizations that help returning heroes.

VetREST CEO Vicci said the organization will use the money Fererra raises to “help a veteran or a veteran and their family with either assisting to build a new home in partnership with another charity or we will use the funds to help several veterans who are struggling with the effects of PTSD.

Vicci also stated that VetREST helps veterans identify the cause behind their PTSD. This is to“not only give them guidance on what else can be done to help them, but if we can put the money in places that will help them get through their situation, we find that is the best cure,” he continued.