Beautiful weather and a larger-than-anticipated turnout combined Saturday (August 28th) to make the 1st Annual Jonathan Edds 5K Walk an outstanding success.
The event honored Edds, a graduate of White Pigeon High School and the United States Military at West Point, New York (2005). He was killed in action in Iraq in August 2007 when insurgents attacked the vehicle in which he was riding. Edds, who was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, is buried at West Point.
All proceeds from the walk, after associated costs, will be donated to the 1 Lt. Jonathan W. Edds Memorial Fund. Funds raised will be used to help deserving charitable and educational programs and projects in the White Pigeon area and help honor the memory of one of White Pigeon’s distinguished sons.
During an interview prior to the start of the walk, Marianne Saunders, voluntary chairperson for the event, said, “It’s an absolutely unexpected wonderful turnout. We started out with the idea that we wanted to raise approximately $5,000 and hoped that we would have 75 to 100 walkers. We had over 150 walkers signed up before today’s event and we know we’ve exceeded $8,500.” (Marianne_Saunders_audio clip – :16)
Barry and Julie Edds, the honoree’s parents, also participated in an interview before the walk began. Barry Edds said, “To see the community come together like this is just a real tribute. Jon would have liked the whole memorial fund because he was a Chief. This was his school and his community and he loved it here. He would be pleased that we’re doing this.” And Julie Edds added, “Jon would be the one organizing something like this if he were here.” (Barry & Julie_Edds_audio clip – :14)
In brief remarks before the start of the walk, Barry Edds thanked those who came out for the walk and expressed appreciation for the support shown for the family over the last three years.
Following the playing of “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood, the White Pigeon American Legion Color Guard escorted walkers from the hockey rink across from White High School – the beginning and end points for the walk – to US-12.
The 1 Lt. Jonathan W. Edds Memorial Fund will be administered as part of the White Pigeon Area Community Foundation, a geographic affiliate fund of the Sturgis Area Community Foundation.
Next year’s walk is expected to take place during White Pigeon Days in early July.
To hear the interview with Marianne Saunders, click here (1:30 – 1.37 MB). And, to listen to the interview with Barry and Julie Edds, click here (1:53 – 1.73 MB). Both interviews were conducted by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal.
FOOTNOTE: Marianne Saunders reports that the new estimate for funds raised through the walk is “close to $9.6k.” She says several people signed up Saturday morning and there were several miscellaneous donations.
Editor’s Note: This post was expanded at 8:12 a.m. 8-30-10 to add the footnote with an update on the total of funds raised through the walk.