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Most Tireless Fund-Raiser: Sweating for a good cause 

Sparky George and Hats Off America

When Sparky George says he runs a nonprofit, he means it: Rain or shine, ill or well, the Danville resident runs five miles five nights a week through the streets of downtown Danville and San Ramon to raise awareness for his Hats Off America foundation. Running shirtless with an American flag and a five-pound weight around his waist to show support for currently deployed troops, 57-year-old George "Sparky" Cave is just conspicuous enough to get people asking questions. He'll willingly spill the beans about the nonprofit organization he founded in 2002 to raise money for the families of soldiers who have lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. The former Marine decided after his service during Vietnam that the government's reparations for such families are inadequate. Hats Off America holds frequent fund-raisers — plays, runs, casino nights, and car shows — in the Tri-Valley area, and has so far raised about $13,000. According to the corporation's bylaws, it won't be ready to make any distributions until there's $500,000 in the bank, enough for just one family. So until a huge donor comes along, Cave is only spreading the word. In the meantime, he refuses to slacken his dedication to his cause.

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