Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Jeremy Fojut runs to raise money for Milwaukee Parks Foundation

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- During the pandemic, a lot of people rediscovered the great outdoors by making use of local parks. That's true for Jeremy Fojut. Using Milwaukee's county parks made him realize they could use some help. Now, he's taking steps to give back.

Running isn't just physical exercise. It's mental, too.

"I've just noticed the neighborhoods and running through them and what could be this and how this could be, and that kind of stuff has been really cool," Jeremy Fojut said of running through Milwaukee County parks.

Every run he takes, he's observing what's around him.

"One of the things that I've learned is that the parks in neighborhoods that are more well off are more well off," he said.

There's a lot to maintain in Milwaukee County. There are 169 parks and parkways, and a budget that hasn't necessarily kept pace.

"When you look at Milwaukee County Parks' budget, we have the same budget we had in 1985, which is around $40 million," said Tristen Shorter with the Milwaukee Parks Foundation. "So, if you think about that, if the budget kept up with inflation, it would be around $90 million."

Just as every run starts with that first step, Fojut came up with a small way he could start to help.

"We've been left with these parks by people who created them a long time ago," he said. "And it's our job as citizens, what kind of city do we want to live in?"

Fojut's goal is to run through all 169 parks. For every kilometer he runs, he's making a donation to the Milwaukee Parks Foundation. It's a campaign he's documented on social media.

"I should have probably called them and told them and I just started doing awareness, but I didn't do that, but surprises are good too, right?" he said with a laugh.

"We love for people to love their parks," Shorter said.

She said Fojut's campaign is raising awareness about the needs of the parks.

"We appreciate when people go out, start these ventures and inspire other people and then people get to learn about Milwaukee Parks Foundation," she added.

It's pushed Fojut to some personal bests.

"I've went from five miles, I even ran a 15-mile the other day. And I never run that before, so it's been motivating," he said.

He hopes to motivate others along the way. You can follow Fojut's runs on his twitter page, @JeremyLFojut, or match donations through the Milwaukee Parks Foundation.

If you'd like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected]

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