2nd Annual Remember the Fallen
5K Memorial Run
Written by Jessica Hobbs
Photos by Arch Angels Photography
Everyone can remember where they were when the events of 9/11 occurred. Each year on the anniversary of September 11 it is important to remember all the emergency responders and civilians who lost their lives as a result of that horrific event. The North Port Fire Rescue Honor Guard, along with the City of North Port and Zoomers Running Club, will host the 2nd Annual Remember the Fallen 5K Memorial Run on September 15 to do just that. The event is a way to honor those who were killed on September 11, 2001 and to raise funds for the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation and the NPFR Honor Guard.
The National Fallen Firefighter Foundation (NFFF) is a U.S. Congress-created non-profit that honors fallen fire heroes. The foundation offers support programs and assistance to survivors and co-workers of firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Scholarships are also often available to family members. The foundation also works to bring awareness around the country and to train fire departments adequately to avoid line of duty deaths. Every October, the NFFF sponsors an official national tribute to all firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year at the National Fallen Firefighters Monument located in Emmitsburg, Maryland on the campus of the National Fire Academy. For more information on the non-profit, visit www.firehero.org.
The NPFR Honor Guard was formed in 2007 and consists of seven formally trained fire honor guard members who work as a ceremonial unit. The group instills tradition in the fire department and honors firefighters by performing at events including firefighter funerals, grand openings, memorial services, parades and retirements. “When we travel we’re representing our city and the department,” explained Richard Yarnall, North Port firefighter and NPFR Honor Guard commander. The honor guard participates in local events as well as traveling all over the state. The fire department assists with travel costs when possible, but often times it becomes the responsibility of the members. Proceeds from the run that go to the honor guard will help with such expenses as well as maintaining equipment and updating uniforms.
Last year was the Remember the Fallen 5K Run’s inauguration. It was inspired by the 10th anniversary of September 11 and as a way to honor and remember those who were killed. “We wanted to do something different in our community and decided to put the run together, where members of the community and surrounding areas could come together and show their support,” said Richard. Participant numbers were great for a first time race. There were 226 registered runners with over 300 total people in attendance at the event. “Last year was an amazing first year. It really exceeded our expectations,” he said. Proceeds raised from that first run reached $3,000. Richard hopes to see the run grow this year; over 300 runners are anticipated to participate and the fundraising goal is $5,000.
“There’s this saying that we have that is ‘Never Forgotten.’ This is just one avenue where people can come out and actually do that, never forget,” explained Richard. The Remember the Fallen 5K Memorial Run is open to everyone, from the most skilled competitor to the occasional runner. The run will take place at the George C. Mullen Activity Center, starting at 7:30 AM on September 15. Registration will begin at 6:00 AM. Residents of all ages are welcome to participate and awards three deep will be given in each age category, from nine and under to 80 and older. Awards will also be given to the first male and female in the categories of overall, masters, grand masters, senior grand masters and veterans. This year runners will be timed with IPICO chip timing technology. Participating firefighters will be challenged to run in their full bunker gear. There will be food for purchase, a DJ providing music, and fire, police and military displays.
Registration for the run is available online at www.zoomersrun.com or www.active.com until midnight on September 13. Cost is $25 to participate. The George C. Mullen Activity Center is located at 1602 Kramer Way. If you have any questions or need additional information, contact Richard Yarnall at (941) 539-9993 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.