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Fallen Marine, IWU Alum Honored During Homecoming Run

The weekend event brought in more than 150 runners, all donating $30 or more for The Ryan Beaupre Memorial Scholarship Fund...
BLOOMINGTON - While many athletes enjoy going for a run, sometimes there can be more to the activity than just getting a good workout.

That's the case for community members taking part in a race at Illinois Wesleyan this weekend. For them, it's a run to remember a fallen hero, and former student.

The tragedy took place more than ten years ago, but Illinois Wesleyan still remembers Capt. Ryan Beaupre during its homecoming weekend.

Captain Beaupre graduated from IWU in 1995. Before joining the Marines in 2003, he was deployed overseas as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

But just two day into the mission, his helicopter was shot down.

The event hit the community hard, and ever since, this 5k run and walk has been dedicated to Beaupre and the legacy he left behind.

"It's always a difficult day, but the camaraderie and the way people remember Ryan, it's an honor to think that the people go out of their way to support Ryan and keep his memory alive," said Nicky Beaupre, Ryan’s mother.

The weekend event brought in more than 150 runners, all donating $30 or more for The Ryan Beaupre Memorial Scholarship Fund. Some, like Ara Holiday, say school wouldn't have been possible here without it.

"This family's making a difference for so many people," said Holiday. "It’s not just the recipients, but there are a lot of people who are recognizing the cause and it might inspire others to do the same.

Members of the local ROTC are running together, to remember their fallen brother.

"At ROTC, we want to do anything to show our support for all military and prior service," said Adam Lienhop, a senior at Illinois Wesleyan. "Ryan’s sacrifice was a big deal and so we wanted to show our support for that. It's nice to get everyone together and just run as a unit."

That unity has helped with the healing process.

"We support each other and we enjoy the sorrows. We go through the sorrows and the happiness as a team and I think it's just another day of celebrating life," said Beaupre.

The Ryan Beaupre Scholarship Fund is awarded to students based on merit and academic need.

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