Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Local News

November 4, 2012

On the run to honor a veteran who gave all

5K run/walk honors Neil Simmons, kicks off Military Appreciation Days.

More than 100 men, women and children braved the brisk morning air Saturday to say thanks to a true hero, Army Pfc. David Neil Simmons.

A 2005 Northwestern High School graduate, Simmons was one of two soldiers killed April 8, 2007, when their military vehicle came under attack, taking on small-arms fire and was hit by an improvised explosive device. He had been in Kuwait for three weeks before being sent to Baghdad on April 1.

“Quarterbacks and movie stars are not heroes. It’s men like Neil who are the true heroes,” Paul Wyman said in his opening prayer to start the Neil Simmons 5K run/walk Saturday at the Ivy Tech

Kokomo Event Center.

“This is one of the greatest honors — to be able to run on behalf of Neil,” said Wyman, a friend of Simmons’ family.

“I’m not sure if I’ll try to run up front or take my time and reflect on his service to the military,” Wyman said before the race. “I think I’ll just reflect on Neil.”

Fresh out of basic training in Fort Benning, in Georgia, C.J. Redman, Simmon’s cousin, laced up his shoes to pay tribute to his friend.

“I just wanted to show my respect for him,” he said.

Calvin Pohl, a longtime friend of Simmons, said he wouldn’t miss the run for anything.

“Neil was my best friend in high school,” he said. “Celebrating Neil and the other guys serving ... It’s definitely emotional. They’re good emotions today. This is one of those things you just can’t miss.”

Along with honoring Simmons’ sacrifice, the event served as the kickoff for Military Appreciation Days, a week full of activities and discounts for all veterans.

This year, a total of 60 businesses at 65 different sites are offering discounts to veterans through Nov. 12

The opening ceremony kicked off at 8 a.m. with runners and walkers gearing up for a cold jog down East North Street to Touby Pike to Morgan Street and back to the event center.

“We had 110 sign up and 20 more came this morning to sign up,” said Teri Rose, Simmons’ mother.

“This a true testament to what Kokomo does for its community and its veterans,” she said.

Just as runners were set to begin, the sound of a Vietnam-era Huey 369 helicopter caught everyone’s attention.

The Huey, restored by Marine veteran John Walker, flew over the crowd for several minutes before landing in a cordoned off area on the south side of the parking lot.

Walker founded the American Huey 369 Organization and restored the 369 and an 803 Warrior. The aircraft are displayed at community events to honor veterans.

“This is what we do,” Walker said as he climbed out of the Huey. “We do this for all the veterans who serve our country.”

Membership flights were available at a cost of $100, with half of the funds going to construct a home for Army Spc. Anthony Walton, who was injured in Afghanistan.

Shannon Reinagle, a friend of Teri Rose, organized the event as a way to honor Neil and all veterans.

“I always wanted to put on a run,” said Reinagle, who works at the Salvation Army and is a member of the Military Foundation.

“We could not be more excited.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Kokomo man heading to 'Hoosier Millionaire' finale Rick Rhodes is still having a hard time believing his good fortune. On Thursday, the 53-year-old Kokomo man walked away with $13,500 after beating out five other contestants on the “Hoosier Millionaire” live road show in Fort Wayne. “I’m still in sho

    April 18, 2014

  • Dual Credit classes KACC 02 Dual credits give high school students head start on college More area students are enrolling in dual credit classes as a way to get an early start on their college degrees and prepare for the rigor of higher education while still in high school. In the past five years, the number of college credits earned by

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Email, Internet knocked out at Miami Co. Courthouse PERU -- Basic government services were put on hold for the second time in nearly two months in Miami County after a massive server failure once again knocked out Internet and email access in most departments and offices. The crash hit early last week

    April 18, 2014

  • Early voting underway in Miami Co. PERU -- Miami County officials are reminding residents that early voting is now open for the primary election. Early voting started April 8 and will end May 5, one day before Election Day. Early voting is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every weekday at t

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson Street Commons veterans home grand opening set for May 22 Jackson Street Commons, a home for veterans near downtown Kokomo, will host a grand opening May 22. The new $3.6 million facility, located at 322 E. Jackson St., provides permanent housing to 27 previously homeless veterans, said Judy Dennis, executi

    April 18, 2014

  • YMCA nearing design phase completion Development and design of the new 73,000 square foot YMCA should be completed in the next 30 days, YMCA of Kokomo Executive Director David Dubois told the Kokomo Common Council Monday. Dubois said he hopes to begin construction on the new facility by

    April 18, 2014

  • NHS, PJHS named four-star schools Northwestern High School and Peru Jr. High School have found their place among the top schools in the state, with the Indiana Department of Education recognizing them as four-star schools Tuesday. A total of 311 elementary, middle and high schools we

    April 18, 2014

  • NWS-PT041614 Flora Doc1.jpg [Duplicate] The doctor is still in after health group's departure FLORA -- The safe at a downtown bank building, once used for protecting cash and valuables, is now stocked with medical supplies. The former bank office on East Main Street became Flora Family Medicine last month after it was made possible for one lo

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Students visit courthouse Elementary students gained insight on the inner workings of county government through field trips to the Howard County Courthouse this week. Northwestern School Corp. students visited the courthouse Wednesday, and Western Intermediate School third gr

    April 18, 2014

  • Mac talent show 01 lf Maconaquah students, alumni take the stage for 50th annual variety show

    BUNKER HILL - When students from Bunker Hill and Clay Township schools suddenly found themselves walking the same halls in the new Maconaquah High School, they needed something to rally around as they formed their new school identity. That's when Pow

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.