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5K event opens Spring Hill Cemetery to community

Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:49 PM

HUNTINGTON -- About 75 people took the first steps in establishing a new tradition Friday evening during the First Memorial Bell Tower 5K Run/Walk in Spring Hill Cemetery.

The event served dual purposes by inviting community members to the cemetery grounds for the race as well as raising money to pay the $100,000 the Huntington Park and Recreation District owes for the bell tower's construction, said Kevin Brady, director of the district.

Brady said he hopes the district is able to host the event each year in conjunction with the Healing Field display, which honors the memory of the victims of the Marshall plane crash, the victims of 9/11 and all veterans with thousands of flags that represent each life lost.

"It's a pretty cool thing," Brady said. "This is a place that is a great focal point for the community. The grounds are scenic, and it has the terrain that makes for something that is challenging to the runners in the area."

It is a daily occurrence to see people taking leisurely strolls or walking for their health in the cemetery said Tiffany Chapman, who works at the cemetery.

She echoed Brady's sentiments about the cemetery's balance between its moving scenery and rolling hills, and she said the event presented an open door to members of the community who may have not visited the cemetery in the past.

"I think people who haven't been here before are in for a very good surprise," Chapman said. "They will get a very good run, and they will get to see things like the Marshall University memorial and the Memorial Bell Tower that are big parts of the community."

The entire 5K route was contained to the cemetery grounds, and it included laps around the aforementioned Marshall memorial, bell tower and Healing Field as well as the back hills of the cemetery and the cemetery's main office, which is along the steepest hill on the property.

The tower was unveiled during a Patriot Day ceremony on Wednesday, and the Healing Field will remain on display at the cemetery until Sunday, Sept. 15.

Even as Friday's event was set to raise hundreds of dollars for the tower, Brady said community members still are welcome to purchase flags from the Healing Field in support of the bell tower.

To purchase a flag, or for more information about the cemetery, call 304-696-5954 or visit www.ghprd.org.



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