Nocturnal III: The Mission – Huge Success

The Grace College Student Veteran Organization in partnership with ML Motorsports, Wish for Our Heroes and KCV Cycling hosted Nocturnal III: The Mission on Oct. 27, 2012.  With over 500 in attendance, the adventure race extravaganza was a huge success for participants and contributors alike.

Matt Metzger gives directions prior to the start of the road vs. trail bike race.

This year’s event incorporated some first-of-its-kind races, including a road vs. trail bike race, a pet-friendly three-mile run, and “The Mission” – a high-adrenaline in-the-dark obstacle race that took participants through the winding trails of the Winona Lake Trails, canoeing in Winona Lake, and crawling over hay bales and stacks of logs. Prizes were given to teams with most participants, best costumes, and top finishers, as well as door prizes awarded at random.

The race results are as follows: Road Bike Race Winners: Female – Erica Baker, Male – Evan Hansen; Bike Race Winners: Female – Andrea Lehr, Male – Matt Morgart; Run Winners: Female – Stacy Fisk, Male – Eric Cusick; and Mission Winners: 1st place – Team Busse, 2nd place – Plowboys.  The largest team was Boy Scouts of America Troop 453, who entered 14 participants.

In addition to the races, the event offered children’s activities including a Boot Camp bounce house provided by the National Guard, a full meal provided by the Mike Metzger family and the Army National Guard, and representatives from the Navy, Army National Guard, and the Grace College Admissions Team.  In the back of a Navy SUV an entire gaming system was set up for all to enjoy SoCom, Madden, Guitar Hero, and a flight simulator.  A helicopter from Parkview Samaritan Hospital landed at the start line of the trail run and took off as the runners started the race.

A bike race participant crosses the finish line in costume.

“It was great to see the civilian and military communities work together to support veterans pursuing that next assignment into higher education,” said Scott Shaffer, Veteran’s Affairs Professional at Grace College & Seminary. “The support from the Army National Guard and U.S. Navy was incredible.  They brought the entertainment for those in attendance.  So many people stopped by to see what was going on at Rodeheaver and to see their family members finish The Mission.”

Local businesses and families sponsored the event through cash donations, in-kind donations and prizes.  Sponsors included Metzger Trucking, the Warsaw YMCA, SYM Financial Advisors, Relentless Martial Arts Academy, Wyndham Garden, the Dane and Mary Louise Miller Foundation, Wildman Business Group, Lake City Radio, LeSEA Broadcasting, Oldies 98.3, Crouse Body Shop, Papa John’s, Lake House, Trail House, Culver’s, Shoe Sensation, Pet Supplies, Wal-Mart, 1000 Park Bãk∙afé, Rabb Water, Boathouse, Martin’s Supermarket, Buggy Shop Bakery, Giverny Fitness, Army National Guard, US Navy, and the Mike Metzger family. The event wouldn’t have been possible without countless volunteers including Amy Evans, Matt Livengood, Karen Wood, Bethany Cockburn-Atkins, Lorraine Deffenbaugh, Rod Ginter, Bill Holder, Dihana Bowen, Bob and Sue Cockburn, Alexi Demopolis, Greg Demopolis, Cara Roe, Susanna Wolf, Mike Cusick, Rob Bishop, Brandt Cox, Joe Romie, Dan Murphy, the Grace Student Veteran’s Organization, Grace Sport Management students and more. Thanks to all who sponsored, volunteered, and participated in the event.

Donations from local businesses as well as racer entry fees totaled over $4,000, which went towards the Grace Military Fund to assist Grace students who are veterans or military dependents with their schooling.  Additionally, the cash proceeds from the day were donated to a local family as an act of kindness.  Following the final race of the night, a large group of racers and supporters made their way through Winona Lake to surprise the family with the donation right at their home.

“For me, the coolest part of the night was when all of the racers took money to a neighbor,” explained Matt Metzger, co-director of Metzger Outdoors. “The recipients were overwhelmed with joy.  It was truly a chance to obey God’s command to love your neighbor. The night gave the racers a chance to let their lights shine (in more ways than one)!”

The event also benefited Wish for Our Heroes, a non-profit dedicated to helping active-duty military families from all branches of the U.S. military.

Nocturnal III: The Mission was a tremendous success that Metzger Outdoors and the Grace College Student Veteran Organization enjoy partnering with each year.  For more information on The Mission: Nocturnal III or other upcoming races, please visit:

For more information on Grace College’s Military program, please visit:

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