Second annual Freedom 5k for Malverne's first responders

‘Patriot Man’s’ annual race not losing any steam


Every step Greg Waxman takes is toward a better future for those who need it. His second annual 5k race raised $14,000 for local veterans, first responders and nonprofits.

Some may know Waxman better as “Patriot Man”: the man who neighbors may have seen — whether on Facebook or their very own window — run 50 miles across Malverne, all while holding the American flag high.

But last year, Waxman wanted to invite everyone to join him on his mission to honor local heroes. Thus, the Freedom 5k was born — and it hasn’t lost momentum in its second year. The 2024 charity race raised $14,000 for local nonprofits.

The thousands raised wouldn’t have happened without Waxman — but neither would it have happened without the countless neighbors that showed their support.

“A lot of people came out,” Waxman said. “We passed by a couple houses of residents who were veterans, and that was great. Every year, the village puts little flags on houses, on utility poles on the avenue — Malverne is a very patriotic village.”

Half the money is going to the American Legion Post 44, who has partnered with Hope for Warriors — a nonprofit that helps veterans wounded in combat, and the families of those killed in action.

“Without the veterans that fought with us that are still here, we wouldn’t be able to hold events like this,” Waxman said.

$3,000 is going to Crossroads Farm at Grossman’s, a fixture in Malverne, owned by the Nassau County Land Trust. The nonprofit focuses on protecting locally owned farms, and supporting organic farming and agricultural education for the public.

Crossroads Farm was the site of Waxman’s inaugural race last year, called Freedom on the Farm 5k. This year, the race has shifted to Memorial Day to even further highlight its focus on local heroes.

Thousands more is going to two foundations that honor fallen officers from Malverne.

The race's proceeds will fund two scholarships — $1,000 each — to high school graduates that receive the Sgt. Winters scholarship, organized by the Police Benevolence Association to honor Thomas Winters, who served in the Malverne Police Department for 21 years before dying three years ago at 55 years old.

The Detective Steven McDonald Foundation, created for a fallen New York Police Department officer, will also be receiving $1,000 of the race’s proceeds. Benefitting organizations for fallen officers is a way to make sure their memory continues to live on, Waxman said.

“We just want to keep the spotlight and keep the awareness for these individuals,” Waxman said. “And honor them for the sacrifices that they made.”

And the final $1,000 will go to the Malverne Fire Department, to supply the resources the department needs so they can continue to keep neighbors safe.

Waxman will present the money at the Malverne Village Board meeting this Wednesday, June 5.

“We wanted to keep it local and transparent,” Waxman said. “So people could see where their money is actually going when they sign up or donate.”

First and foremost, organizing benefit events like the Memorial Day Freedom 5k is about giving something back to the hometown heroes who have given so much to others.

“The veterans and first responders are really the fabric of the community, and whatever we can do to support them, I’m happy to do,” Waxman said.

“What better thing to do than help out your local community?”