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ECO Student & the Travis Manion Foundation Hosted Annual 9/11 Heroes Run at River Parishes Community College

9/11 Heroes Run 2023

Photography by Event Volunteer

Gonzales, Louisiana — One of the nation’s leading veteran service organizations, Travis Manion Foundation, hosted the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race at River Parishes Community College (RPCC) on September 10th at 9 a.m. in Gonzales. 

The annual race unites the community to remember the lives lost on 9/11 and in the wars since, along with our veterans, military and first responders who serve our country and our communities. A portion of the proceeds from the 9/11 Heroes Run benefits Travis Manion Foundation, which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. This particular race is brought to you by Early College Option (ECO) student, Ella Willoughby as she and her dad volunteer quite often on events like these with the Foundation.

Now in its 17th year, the 9/11 Heroes Run national race series is held in more than 90 communities around the U.S. and the world and USAA returns for a second year as the National Title Sponsor of the race series. 

The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he selflessly protected his battalion. Before his final deployment, Travis visited Rescue One in NYC— a group known for losing almost all their men on 9/11—and returned home with deeper passion about why he was fighting in Iraq. At its heart, the 9/11 Heroes Run is a tribute to a personal commitment to never forget the heroes of that day. 

"The anniversary of the September 11th attacks provides us an opportunity to gather, reflect and remember,” said Ryan Manion, President, Travis Manion Foundation. “We reflect on the civilians and first responders we lost that day, and all those lost in the wars since, including my brother. Through the Travis Manion Foundation’s 9/11 Heroes Runs, we gather communities together, not just to honor the fallen, but to continue the legacies of character, leadership, and service that they left behind. We run to remember so future generations don’t forget." 

Last year, more than 60,000 people participated in 9/11 Heroes Run races around the world and Travis Manion Foundation invests back into the local race communities to support military, veterans, first responders and their families. 

For the Gonzales event this year, more than 165 participants registered and over 100 runners showed up. For more information about the race or to register for future races, visit www.911heroesrun.org.

“I was Active Duty in the Navy on that day and I can still remember exactly where I was when the first plane hit. I can remember watching those heroes running in to help the injured in New York City, at the Pentagon and in the fields of Pennsylvania. It is extremely important to continue to remember the sacrifices of all of them and those that still serve to protect us to this day. The 9/11 Heroes Run is a small way of showing them how important and heroic they were that day and continue to be today for our country,” said Bob Chenier, U.S. Navy Retired and RPCC Student Navigator.

About Travis Manion Foundation:
Travis Manion Foundation (TMF) unites communities to strengthen America's national character by empowering veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop and lead future generations. In 2007, 1stLt Travis Manion (USMC) was killed in Iraq while saving his wounded teammates. Today, Travis' legacy lives on in the words he spoke before leaving for his final deployment, "If Not Me, Then Who..." Guided by this mantra, veterans continue their service, develop strong relationships with their communities, and thrive in their post-military lives by serving as character role models to youth. As a result, communities prosper and the character of our nation’s heroes lives on in the next generation.

Make sure you check out Ella on WBRZ!

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Campus Locations

Gonzales Campus
925 W. Edenborne Parkway
Gonzales, LA. 70737

Reserve Campus
181 Regala Park Road
Reserve, LA. 70084

St. Charles Campus
13145 HWY 90
Boutte, LA. 70039

Westside Campus
25250 Tenant Road
Plaquemine, LA. 70764


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