Binghamton residents ran to remember a former Binghamton University Rower on Saturday. John McKenna died serving in Iraq six years ago. As our Elyse Mickalonis reports, the memorial run in his name continues to grow year after year.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- John McKenna IV was an athlete, a State Trooper and a United States Marine. People from all parts of his life got out and ran Saturday in the benefit in his name. McKenna was killed in action August 16th, 2006 during his third tour of duty in Iraq. This was the sixth year the run was held in his memory and the turnout topped 700!
"I think he would smile, slightly embarrassed and say it's not about him, it's about the team," said John McKenna III, John's Father.
The event was organized by Binghamton University's Crew team, the same team McKenna rowed for from 1994 to 1998.
"It's really nice to see the outpouring of love and compassion towards each other and that
we're all able to gather for this event to remember John," said Michael Eichler, Event Founder.
Matthew Haas, John's Friend, added, "John had a great laugh, the best. He had bright red hair, if you got him laughing hard enough his face would turn the same color as his hair."
Organizers and family members say they're surprised by today's turnout and hope next year's event will be bigger.
"We want to make it even bigger and better next year the students at Binghamton University
do an incredible job," said McKenna.
Haas added, "I think he would be greatly honored by this and be one of those people saying, 'next year's going to be bigger.'"