5K to honor fallen Aggie soldiers, Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 22:10
What began as a humble way to honor a fallen Army officer has grown into a race in honor of 31 fallen Aggie soldiers to preserve their legacy.
“Running with Roy” began as a race in honor of Lt. Col. Roy Lin Tisdale, Class of 1992, who was killed in the shooting at Fort Bragg in June 2012.
Leslie Easterwood, veterinarian at A&M’s Large Animal Hospital and friend of Tisdale’s, said the idea for “Running with Roy” began with a small group of military wives at Fort Bragg who were helping Roy’s wife through her grief, but soon it began to evolve into a larger event.
“[The group of women] continued to run as Roy did, and competed in a half marathon last February,” Easterwood said. “Other friends who could not be there ran on the same day and posted pictures of support for them.”
Easterwood said the race has now grown into a much larger event since the decision was made to honor 31 other Aggie soldiers along with Tisdale, and participants for next week’s race are coming from as far away as North Carolina, Kansas and New York.
“The ‘Running with Roy’ was planned to honor [Tisdale],” Easterwood said. “But it has morphed into an event to honor all 31 Texas Aggies that we have lost while in service to our country since Sept. 11, 2001.”
In May, Easterwood sent a letter to President George W. Bush, inviting him and his wife to attend the event on Oct. 12. In the letter, Easterwood wrote about Tisdale’s life.
“He thrived in the Corps and in the doctrine of Texas A&M,” Easterwood said in the letter. “He loved Texas A&M and hoped that his kids would one day attend Texas A&M and love it as he did.”
Tisdale was a member of Company D-2 in the Corps of Cadets and served in the Army after graduation. He served two full tours of duty in Iraq and two full tours of duty in Afghanistan while becoming a career Army officer. Among his many recognitions, he was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Andrew Stevens, commander of Company D-2, said the company is planning to run as a pack in their company T-shirts to signify to family members that the outfit Tisdale was a part of is still going strong.
“We always like to support anybody from our outfit, living or passed away, and hearing the news of what happened to Roy hit all of us,” Stevens said. “I know a bunch of us went to his funeral, those that were able to. We always want to be there to support the family and support anyone that we can.”
Colton Beall, sophomore bioenvironmental science major and a member of C-Company in the Corps of Cadets, is signed up to run in the upcoming 5K. He said groups have already participated in 5Ks in the name of [Tisdale], mainly through [Tisdale’s] wife and friends.
“People have been doing ‘Running with Roy’ as groups all around America,” Beall said. “Now we get to have a 5/10K here in Aggieland for him.”
On race day, a memorial tree and bench will be dedicated in Roy’s name, Easterwood said. A memorial student lounge in the Buzbee Leadership Learning Center will also be dedicated on Saturday.
Easterwood said the money collected from the race will go toward funding a scholarship in Tisdale’s name for students in the Corps of Cadets. Easterwood said she hopes the inaugural race will go well so it can continue every year to support the Corps of Cadets.
“This event is a way to support Corps scholarships and to help tie his kids to Texas A&M,” Easterwood said. “The proceeds from the race will go to the TAMU Foundation to fund an endowed scholarship in Roy’s name that will benefit the TAMU Corps of Cadets.”
Beall said the race follows the values instilled in all students at A&M. The race is not only to honor the Aggies who have fought with loyalty for the United States, it is also a celebration of those who have or continue to serve in the Armed Forces.