Kansas CEO, employees learn to love running all to help St. Jude patients

Local News

OLATHE, Kan. (KSNT) – A prominent Kansas CEO is using his influence to give back to the kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Harry Herington: NIC Inc. CEO, grandfather, and now a man with a newfound passion for running.

“I am not a runner,” said Herington. But before he filled his days running miles and a business, he was a police officer.

“When I’d go to calls it didn’t matter which side of town I went to, it didn’t matter income level, it didn’t matter race,” said Herington. “You walk in and the children were the most innocent, and its our job as a society to take care of those children.”

That’s where his passion for helping kids took off.

“When I was growing up you’d always see the Marlo Thomas commercials and when you’re younger you see those and it doesn’t mean that much but it sticks with you,” said Herington.

The CEO donated here and there, but always wanted to do more. In 2019 Harry challenged his business team to train for a marathon together – as a way to refuel his employees thirst for improvement and to become healthier as a group.

If he was lucky, he hoped that at least five of his employees would run the St. Jude Rock ‘N Roll marathon in Las Vegas with him. Boy was he wrong – 65 of his employees signed up with him – setting out to make it about more than the health goal. They were going to help the kids.

“The energy level that’s there and everybody’s talking all these stories about somebody that had somebody either a brother a sister a nephew that had cancer all these stories about St. Jude making a difference and the energy level just started growing within you,” said Herington.

He hoped to raise $20,000 for the marathon. As the fundraising kept growing he said if the company raised 50,000, he would match it. This put them at the top of the charts for which team was raising the most across the country.

While they were doing this and climbing to the top, the NIC Inc. team noticed another team consistently right behind them.

“Jack was a 7-year-old boy out of Washington who had cancer, the whole community came behind the Jack and they created this army”, coining the name Jack’s Army.

When Harry figured out Jack’s Story, he knew that his effort wasn’t about staying on the top of the leader board.

“I said we would match but I never said it would go for us, because it shouldn’t be about us so we took the $50,000 and we donated it to Jack’s Army.”

Flash forward about six months, raising almost a quarter of a million dollars for St. Jude. But now Harry is running and raising for another family, this one closer to home: the family of Grit Henderson who lives in Lawrence.

“For the family to know that the community’s got your back that’s why i’m going to run for team Grit,” said Herington, who now runs through a pair of shoes every 3 months now, to help kids like Jack and Grit.

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