Posted: Saturday, August 4th 2012 at 1:37pm
Hundreds run to honor Hall Co. Marine
By B.J. Williams Editor
LCpl. Sean Adams is flanked by Gainesville High School NJROTC members Christian Aguilar, Kimberly Nguyen and Caitlyn Goodroe
LULA - An estimated 300 people showed up to run Saturday morning in honor of injured Hall County Marine Sean Adams in the inaugural Devil Dog 5K.
The race took place at Jaemor Farms on a course that had been made slippery from overnight thundershowers, but runners like Caitlyn Goodroe from Gainesville High School's NJROTC said a little mud was no big deal.
"It's a really good cause to come out and help him [Adams] and run for someone who served our country and is such a good hero for our community," said Goodroe.
She was joined by fellow NJROTC members Kimberly Nguyen and Christian Aguilar, and Aguilar mentioned that the race in honor of Adams was his first 5K. While he noted that he was nervous about the warrior course, he finished third overall Saturday and received his award from Adams and Adams' mother Tina.
First place finisher in the inaugural race was also a first-timer. Jonathan Parris, 22, of Gillsville, actually works at Jaemor Farms and said he was inspired to run the Devil Dog 5K when he heard about it at work.
In fact, Parris was worried that he might not finish the race in time to report for work, so he ran the distance in his work clothes - a race t-shirt, a pair of jeans and his work boots.
Before runners stepped off for the race, Adams took time to speak to the crowd and expressed his gratitude, while at the same time, remembering his fellow Marines.
"This Devil Dog Run is not for myself - I don't think it should be," he said, his voice becoming emotional. "This Devil Dog Run is for two Marines that I lost in combat."
The 19-year-old Adams lost both of his legs and suffered other injuries when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan in February. His family and his doctors have said that Adams has made a miraculous recovery from those critical wounds, although he continues to go through extensive physical therapy.
Despite the seriousness of the moment, Adams encouraged the runners to have fun.
While Adams' medical treatment is covered by the U.S. Marine Corps, there are other financial needs for Adams' family, and proceeds from the Devil Dog 5K will go to meet those needs. Plans are underway, for example, to make some renovations to the Adams' home to accomodate the Marine's wheelchair.
Organizers of the event have said they plan to hold another Devil Dog 5K in the future.
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