GREENSBURG — On a sun-kissed Saturday morning, more than a thousand adults and children gathered at St. Mary’s Elementary School for a day none will soon forget.
The first annual “On Eagle’s Wings” 5k run/walk turned out to be one of the largest first-time events of its kind in the state of Indiana, bringing people of all ages to the elementary school’s campus for a memorable event staged in memory of four prominent community members lost in a plane crash last year.
Many were family, friends, acquaintances and co-workers of Don and Barb Horan and Stephen and Denise Butz. Others never knew them, but came to support the community those four individuals loved and the overarching ideal for which they collectively stood: whole-hearted giving.
It was a cause that united a legion of supporters who ran, walked or simply cheered on those taking part in the Saturday morning spectacle.
The enormous turn-out surpassed even the wildest expectations of the event’s chairs, Alan and Kristy Lowe, Brian Wenning and Jeff Dougan.
“It’s all out of a story of love and support,” described Kristy Lowe. “It’s just incredible.”
The boom of a cannon set hundreds off on a determined sprint, many of whom were competitive runners. These entrants had their times tracked by electronic chips attached to their shoes. A timer beneath an arch of purple and yellow balloons – the favorite colors of Barb Horan and Denise Butz – counted the minutes and seconds until a winner crossed the finish line.
The first to do so was Oldenburg Academy student Taylor Reed, whose time of just over 20 minutes afforded him the honor of race winner. Others elected to take a more leisurely pace, finishing their walk a little more than an hour after it began.