Two men from the Show Low-Lakeside area braved the cold weather Tuesday by participating in a nationwide relay to raise money for aiding veterans and first responders.

The Great American Relay that started on Sept. 11 in Boston came through the White Mountains Tuesday with local residents Jeromy Cronin and Ezra Borrego exchanging a baton at Timber Mesa fire station 15 in Show Low.

Cronin, 46, took the baton from another runner a little past noon at the Y intersection in Vernon and arrived at the fire station at 60 N. Sixth St. 2 hours and 8 minutes later “on the button” he said, jogging for about 12 miles. “I did stop to kiss my wife and kids. They held me up in a good way,” Cronin said.

Cronin, the director of Therapy Services and Wound Care at Summit Healthcare, said he is not a competitive runner and runs “just for fun,” but is geared up for a heavy-duty event in May in St. George, Utah, the Ironman North American Championship triathlon. “I’ve signed up for a few things here and there. I signed up for the Ironman triathlon, but no one wants to hear about that. I think it’s pretty awesome. I don’t chat about it too much. It will be neat to be there amongst some of the greatest athletes on the globe,” he said.

After staying a few minutes at the fire station to talk with family, supporters and Timber Mesa personnel, Cronin transferred the baton to Borrego, a retired firefighter from the White Mountain Apache Fire and Rescue Department.

Borrego, 57, continued the relay and ran 8.3 miles south to Forestdale at US 60 mile marker 333 on the 347th of 415 total stages during the 3,500-mile relay that is scheduled to end on Tuesday in Santa Monica, California.

Borrego grew up in a military family and was running in the Great American Relay as a tribute to his brother, Jim, who died last year and for others who also served in the US armed forces.

He now serves the community as a personal counselor assisting people “mentally, physically and emotionally,” he said.

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