Fort Bragg troops needed to mentor children of slain soldiers in 5K run

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A one-of-a-kind program connects children whose parents have died while serving our country with active duty service members to mentor them. 

It’s called “Wear Blue: Run to Remember.” The children of slain soldiers and active-duty soldiers train to run a 5K together.

“Letting those children know that their parent is not forgotten and that they’re not forgotten,” Dianne Gray said about the event.

Gray helped start the pilot program at Fort Bragg last year. She says right now they need more active-duty soldiers to volunteer.

Gage Bell and his mom. Photo by Kayla Strayer/CBS 17

Gage Bell participated last year.

“I walked a lot, and I kind of just ran a little bit,” Bell said.

Walk or run, 8-year-old Bell proudly crossed the finish line during the 2019 Memorial Day race.

“It was like a miracle,” Bell said.

His mom LaToya proudly watched her son reach his goal, while also remembering his dad Russell Bell who was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. 

“I think this is a good way to keep it alive because Russell was full of energy,” LaToya said. “A different way as oppose to something sad, it’s something positive.”

“We are really trying to connect the kids with the piece that they’re missing,” Dianne said. “Their parent has sacrificed so much, sometimes they don’t have that same network and community that active-duty kids do.” 

The deadline to sign up is Jan. 31.

“We don’t want anybody to feel turned away, and we don’t want anybody to not feel they have a place,” Gray said.

The kids and soldiers meet every weekend to train together from March until Memorial Day.

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