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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • TAPS runners honor fallen at local race

  • For a special group of runners participating in the Five Trails Half Marathon and 10k on Sunday, every step was laced with memories and honored those who paid the ultimate price in service to country.
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  • For a special group of runners participating in the Five Trails Half Marathon and 10k on Sunday, every step was laced with memories and honored those who paid the ultimate price in service to country.
    Many of the runners were family members and friends of fallen military heroes.
    The funds raised by the runners will help the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), the national organization that has provided comfort and care to more than 40,000 people grieving the deaths of America’s fallen military heroes and caregivers helping them since 1994.
    TAPS runners at the Five Trails Half Marathon included:
    n Mike McManigal of Holton. McManigal ran the half marathon in memory of his son, Army Private First Class Cody Baker, and his battle buddy, Army Private First Class Gil Morales.
    Cody and Gil died together on August 3, 2011 in Afghanistan when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device.
    n Ben Ringvelski of Parkville, Mo. Ringvelski ran the half marathon in memory of his best friend Marine Capt. Justin Peterson who died in Iraq in 2006 and Marine Staff Sergeant Joey D'Augustine, an explosive ordinance disposal technician who was one of his former squad leaders that was killed in Afghanistan March 27, 2012 by an improvised explosive device.
    He also ran in memory of Marine Lieutenant Colonel Chris "Otis" Raible, a former classmate and harrier pilot who was killed in Afghanistan last fall repelling an insurgent attack on the Camp Bastian flight line.
    n Carol Bazemore of Tonganoxie ran in memory of longtime family friend Army Colonel James Harrison, who died on May 6, 2007 in Afghanistan.
    Colonel Harrison graduated from West Point Academy with Bazemore’s husband.
    n Amber Martini of Leavenworth ran in memory of her husband, U.S. Army Sergeant Ralph Mena Jr, of Hutchinson, who died in Tikrit, Iraq on May 4, 2010.
    n Robert Martini of Leavenworth ran in memory of U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major James William Hubbard Jr. of Leavenworth. Sgt. Major Hubbard died May 21, 2009, from service-connected leukemia while serving in Iraq.
    The TAPS “Run and Remember” team began with two runners, who ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC in 2000.
    Get more information about upcoming races and team activities at www.taps.org.

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