ROCKFORD, IA - Supporters from all across the country are paying tribute to Jon Tumilson, by taking part in one of his passions…running.
For Joy McMeekan, this run in her brother’s honor is about his legacy and his passion for the life.
“It’s in honor of Jon Tumilson who was my brother that was killed in action back in August of 2011 and was a big runner, big advocate for people being healthy and having a healthy lifestyle so we have a run in honor of him,” said Joy McMeekan.
It was back in 2011 when Navy SEAL, Jon Tumilson was one of 30 American troops killed in Afghanistan when their helicopter was shot down in combat.
A bronze statue of Tumilson was unveiled Friday following a dedication at Rockford Fossil and Prairie Park where the statue now rests.
The second annual run invites friends, family and collegues from around the country to take part in the activities.
For some runners, like Jon’s close friend, Jim Vance, it’s a time to appreciate what military families go through when they sacrifice so much.
“It’s for his family but I think it’s also in support of soldiers and understanding what military families give. Before JT died, I had no real understanding of what the cost of war was. To me people who died of war were people who I didn’t know,” said Vance.
It’s no surprise that Jim too knows and understands the significance of promoting the healthy lifestyle that Jon made a staple of his life.
“If you want to really enrich your life and raise the quality of life you have, you got to run a lot or you got to be active in some way. This is one of the easiest ways to get people together, you don’t necessarily have to be fast, you don’t have to be the best,” said Vance.
While support from others like Jim help to make these runs a possibility, Joy says it’s their small community that they truly want to help.
“We really wanted to make sure the community benefited from it as well because small towns are suffering a bit. Jon loved growing up in a small town, he always looked forward to coming back here. So it was really important to have it here where he grew up,” said McMeekan.