Fallen Illinois Marine’s Family Fulfills His Wish
An Illinois family fulfilled their son, a fallen marine's, wish and are building a track at his former high school.
Capt. Thomas Heitmann credited his success in college and in the marines to running track at his former high school St. Bede Academy in Peru, IL.
According to the story shared by U.S. News, Thomas "dreamed of building a track at the academy."
When he was in school "he trained for track in the school's parking lot, and the halls, stairwells and basement of the main facility. The 27-year-old had written to his high school track coach that his experience in track contributed to his success in college and the Marine Corps".
His dream was to have "other student runners afforded the same benefits" that he did and wanted to give back to the school.
Sadly, Capt. Heitmann died in a training accident in 2011 when his "helicopter he was piloting crashed."
His family wanted to fulfill his wish of building the track and found this was a way for them to not only keep his memory alive but to also help "process their grief" with his passing.
The school, St. Bede, "donated 7 acres around the campus for the track." Capt. Heitmann's" family organized golf fund raiser that collected about $25,000 a year" for 6 years. His sister, Rachel Christensen made a "mini-documentary about Heitmann" and "raised about $20,000 for the project."
Wow! That is such a great way to remember their son, plus not to mention a great way to give back to the school.