The U.S. flag will fly at St. Sylvester Catholic Church in Gulf Breeze this Flag Day for the ninth annual Flag Day 5K.

Ellen Stanley, the race director, said the Columbiettes — the church’s women’s charity organization — host the run and walk with help from the Knights of Columbus. The proceeds from this year’s event will be split evenly among three charities: Hunting for Healing, Little Sisters of the Poor and the youth programs of St. Sylvester Catholic Church.

“It’s our gift to the community and the charities,” Stanley said. “All of us Catholic women, we don’t keep our money as an organization at the church. We just want to help charities that support the military, support women and children. It’s exciting to see it grow.”

The event will begin with a pre-race ceremony featuring the Hurlburt Field color guard, a reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance and a singing of the national anthem. The Knights of Columbus host a free post-race breakfast in the church’s Activities Building.

The ninth annual Flag Day Run/Walk is 7:30 a.m. June 8 in the Holley By the Sea neighborhood by the church, 6464 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze. Participation is $20 for early registration, $25 the day of the event, $10 for children 12 and younger and $15 for active-duty military. Registration is at Active.com or stsylv.org. For more information, call Stanley at 850-261-2971 or Mary Ann Kurtz, the church’s administrative assistant, at 850-939-3020.

Stanley has been apart of the race from the beginning. The Flag Day 5K is a family event, she said.

“We have women, men — all ages — stroller division, the walkers, the runners,” Stanley said. “We want anyone to come and have fun that day. We give a lot of awards away. First and second are actually glassware we etched ourselves. Then we give first and second place ribbons to all sorts of age groups. Even the kids get ribbons.”

Supporting the military is a primary goal of the Columbiettes, which is why they initially decided to honor Flag Day with a fundraiser.

“One of my Columbiettes sisters said, ‘Ellen, let’s do a run-walk,’” Stanley said. “I’m like, ‘I’m a nurse. I have no idea how to do that.’ She helped me. We’ve grown. In terms of each year, we’ve been fortunate to make more money to give to charity, and that’s our goal.”

About 150 runners and walkers participated the first year, and they donated about $1,000 to each charity, Stanley said. By 2018, those numbers had doubled.

One principle of the race remains the same every year.

“The goal for charities is always to support a military charity, a women’s charity and a youth charity,” Stanley said.

Hunting for Healing is this year’s military charity. Its mission is to provide meaningful charitable outdoor and hunting experiences to any service member, past or present, who has incurred a service-related disability, according to the official website. The organization was founded by the couple Kevin and Lindsey Lacz, who realized hunting as “a true opportunity to bond,” according to the site.

This year’s women’s charity is Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious group of Roman Catholic women in Mobile, Alabama.

“Father (John) Kelly, our priest at St. Sylvester Catholic Church, that was his choice,” Stanley said. “He wanted to bless the Catholic women. They run an extended-care facility for the elderly poor in Mobile, Alabama.”

This year’s youth charity is the church’s group of youth education programs. This includes R.O.C.K., the elementary school youth group; EDGE, the middle school youth group; Life Teen, the high school youth group; and Son Treasure, a ministry for children with special needs.

“Son Treasure is a wonderful program,” Stanley said. “One of our Columbiettes started that.”

The Columbiettes, nationally and locally, have four primary goals, Stanley said. The No. 1 goal is to support their faith.

“We do religious things as a church with Father Kelly to support social issues and morality,” Stanley said. “Two individuals actually started the Pregnancy Resource Center here in Navarre, so that was a huge social, moral, faith jump for us. Then we support the military, so that’s why we initiated the Flag Day 5k — always trying to honor the military and our country. Then we support social endeavors. We have girls’ night out.

“Once a month, we all go out together as Catholic women and have fun and friendship.”