9/11 Heroes Run honors those lost in 9/11, wars that followed

Audrey Browning

The Travis Manion Foundation held its third annual 9/11 Heroes Run, sponsored by the Texas Army ROTC and UT, at Camp Mabry on Sunday to commemorate those lost in 9/11 and in the wars that followed.

Half of the proceeds from the registration fees for the run go to the Travis Manion Foundation to aid fallen military and their families, and the other half goes to the immediate community. Race funds designated for Austin help the UT Army ROTC program purchase better and more realistic equipment, said ROTC officer Andrew Lane, who directed this year’s race.

Lane said the goal for this year’s attendance was 333 participants, and there were just over 300 actual runners.

Lane said trying to keep the mission of the foundation true throughout the event is important.

“If not me, then who?” Lane said, quoting the motto of the Travis Manion Foundation. “That’s the entire basis of this foundation and these runs.”

Lane said that members from all over the community participated for different reasons — some look for an athletic event to participate in and some have a personal attachment to the military.

Participants Kim Maus and Reba Bishop have run in several 5Ks and other races before, but Maus said this benefit race is personally meaningful to them.

“My cousin fell in the very beginning of the war,” Maus said. “I love to run, but I love our veterans.”

Sherry Young, another member of their running group, said her ex-husband was killed in the line of duty.

“It definitely hits home for me,” Young said.

Colonel Leon Holland, the first African-American graduate from UT’s Texas Army ROTC program, said awareness triggers action.

“You are here to honor the fallen, the veterans, the first responders and heroes of the horrific events of 9/11,” Holland said in an opening address. “We must remain vigilant. We must be prepared. We must listen and observe so such an event doesn’t happen again.”

Sergeant Josh Eilers, veteran Army Ranger and Purple Heart recipient, gave a personal testimony of his memories from Sept. 11, 2001. Eilers, who was 13 at the time, lost a family member in the attack.

“It is necessary that future generations do not just remember the facts in textbooks but remember the feelings in our hearts,” Eilers said.