By Margaret Gibbons
Montgomery County is bringing back the 5K Travis Manion/Montgomery County Heroes Run, which the county altered to benefit first responders and their families in addition to veterans.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am co-chairing this race to help these men and women who sacrificed to keep us all safe day in and day out,” said county District Attorney Kevin R. Steele. “This race is special.”
What better day to revive the race, which was in Norristown in 2013 and 2014, than on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Steele said at a press conference Tuesday.
Steele will co-chair the event and run as a member of the district attorney office’s Heels of Justice team, which is comparable to the office’s better known Wheels of Justice charity bicycling team.
Steele, in front of the county’s 9/11 sculpture, then challenged the county commissioners to enter.
“I hear a little trash-talking from the district attorney,” responded Commissioner Valerie Arkoosh, who accepted. “I can promise you we will garner a team and give that DA some competition. We should generate a little drama here.”
“The run is so that we never forget the contributions of U.S. Marine Lt. Travis Manion and all our local heroes in the military and first responder community,” Arkoosh said.
The Travis Manion Foundation was created to honor the memory of 1st Lt. Travis Manion, a Doylestown Township native who was killed in an ambush in Iraq in 2007 while drawing enemy fire away from his wounded comrades.
The purpose of the foundation is to honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks while also providing financial support, scholarship opportunities and emergency assistance to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and their families.
Montgomery County began sponsoring it in the wake of the Sept. 13, 2012, ambush and murder of Plymouth Township police Officer Bradley Fox.
Fox, a U.S. Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, was gunned down after a traffic stop. Fox, who was raised in Warminster, graduated from William Tennent High School.
The purpose of the Montgomery County Heroes fund, created by Sharon and Sean Cullen in response to Fox's slaying, is to provide immediate and ongoing relief and services to any law enforcement officer or first responder and their loved ones in the wake of similar tragedies.
County officials hope to double the more than 500 runners who participated in 2013.
Registration for the 5K race, which is a sanctioned race, is now open at travismanion.org. There also will be a 1 mile fun run/walk for families.
Animals at the Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown and their handlers will be on hand at the event as will a pair of two Budweiser Clydesdales.