5K to raise scholarship in honor of family killed in tornadoWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Community enthusiasm often wanes after the first year of any tragedy. People often stop asking, “How can I help?”
Millbury resident Mark Beck knows that reality, but hopes that doesn’t happen when it comes to remembering the June 5, 2010, tornado and participating in the upcoming 5K in tribute of the storm’s victims.
The second annual 5K run/walk to raise money for a scholarship in honor of the three victims in the Walters family will be June 9 at 9 a.m.
Ryan and Mary Walters and their son, Hayden, died after a tornado tore through their Millbury home while they were sleeping. Their daughter Maddie, who survived, drew a picture of herself and her family for this year’s race T-shirt. Maddie, 9, now lives with her mom’s sister and family.
“Last year, we had 370 participants and raised about $7,000 for the scholarship at Owens,” said race director Beck. “We decided to make this an annual thing so we can continue to give kids a chance to get an education.”
Beck got involved in the race last year after Ryan’s sister, Robin Arquette, contacted Toledo Roadrunners to organize a 5K in memory of her brother who, along with Beck, was a member of the running group.
“My father-in-law’s home was damaged in the tornado, so we had some personal connection, but really I wanted to help out the Walters family,” Beck said.
Once again, the race will begin and end at the Ayers Road Fire Station, 1911 Ayers Road in Millbury.
“We have had some positive responses from companies who are planning on sponsoring their employees,” Beck said. “It is a nice way to support the community and a nice way to give employees a health benefit.”
Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund for students enrolled in the early childhood education or the information systems programs at Owens Community College. The youngest of four, Ryan graduated from Owens and worked at the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, according to Robin.
“Every one of my siblings has a bachelor’s and my older brother has an MBA,” she said in an interview last year. “We wanted to benefit youth in the area, especially those who helped clean up from the tornado. My brother and sister-in-law always tried to do positive things. It is important to give back.”
Ryan had almost completed his bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development from Spring Arbor University when he died. Robin shared some excerpts that Ryan had written for a school project about education and helping others.
“To embrace a lifelong learning and demonstrate to my children the value of an education by finishing my Bachelor’s degree by 2010 and possibly going on for a master’s degree,” Ryan wrote.
He also stated: “To look for the good in others and help them achieve their goals by listening to them and connecting their goals with people, projects or resources I may know.”
Entry forms for the Annual Walters Family 5K Run/Walk are available at Second Sole and Calvary Lutheran Church or on race day at the Ayers Road Fire Station. The entry fee is $20 with a shirt if preregistered by May 30; $15 without a shirt; or $20 on race day with no shirt. For more information, email email@example.com or call (419) 367-1917.
Email community ombudsman Brandi Barhite at firstname.lastname@example.org.