Troy for Troops is hosting a 5K run to honor Lance Cpl. Ryan Winslow on Saturday, April 29.
Winslow, a 19-year-old from Hoover, was killed in action three weeks into a seven-month deployment to the Anbar Province in Iraq, according to the Military Times. He was killed by an improvised explosive device while driving a Humvee looking for roadside bombs.
Retied Sgt. 1st Class Jenny Reed, a transition coordinator for Troy for Troops, explained that the proceeds of the run will benefit the Support Committee for the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, which helps build memorials and conduct funerals for fallen soldiers. The Alabama National Cemetery is a resting place for armed services members from Alabama.
“They’re also involved in a $6 million project called the overlook project,” she said. “Basically, that’s a nice area for the families that come in before, after the funeral, or if they’re just out there visiting their loved ones. They’re able to go and sit and relax in peace. It’s going to be like a little park or a garden there.”
Americans are fortunate to be able to go home to their families each night, explained Reed.
“By us supporting the support community of the Alabama National Cemetery, we are helping support the families,” she said.
“And it’s a good feeling to do that because they’re (the fallen soldiers) not here anymore, and we’re lucky to go home every night to our families, and they can’t. So, I think it’s nice to give something to the families, to make a small contribution, because that loved one can never be replaced.”
Capt. Danielle Pankey, the director of Troy for Troops, said that Memorial Day should be set aside to remember the 1.3 million Americans who have given their lives for the country.
“It’s very, very important to take time to ensure that you’re remembering that,” she said. “So that’s one of the reasons why we want to do something in conjunction with Memorial Day, while the students are still here, to gear them up and get that mindset already in place, so that they remember on Memorial Day (May 29) that it’s not such a somber day.
“We just want to make sure that they do remember that there are veterans who are no longer here, who made that ultimate sacrifice.”
“We’re maintaining their memory. We’re honoring their sacrifices. We’re making sure that they’re not forgotten.”
The event will include a short ceremony honoring both Winslow and his fellow fallen soldiers, and will include George Winslow, Ryan Winslow’s father, as the keynote speaker.
In addition to speaking at the event, Winslow maintains a 40-foot “Remember the Fallen” exhibit highlighting the Alabama residents who have been killed in action during the past 15 years. This exhibit will be on display in the Trojan Center dining area during the week of the event.
The event will be held at the ROTC building on Elm Street and will also serve as the starting place for the race. Participants will run down George Wallace Drive to Brundidge Street and back to Elm Street.
Prizes for first, second and third places will be distributed upon completion of the race. Prizes include gift cards and vouchers for businesses around Troy, according to Reed.
Everyone is invited to participate in the run. Costs are $10 for the run, $15 for a T-shirt, and $20 for both the run and T-shirt. Armed services members run for free.
Participants should register at troyfortroops5k.eventbrite.com. Day of registration will begin at 8 a.m., and the run will begin at 9 a.m.