5K honors former ROTC student killed in Afghanistan

Mark+Buzzy+%2C+a%C2%A0junior+business+management+major%2C+crosses+the+finish+line+during+the+first+race+of+the+Freedom+Run+Series+on+Saturday%2C+April+30%2C+2016.+Buzzy+placed+first+with+a+time+of+18%3A37.

Mark Buzzy , a junior business management major, crosses the finish line during the first race of the Freedom Run Series on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Buzzy placed first with a time of 18:37.

Jessica Barone

Kent State’s ROTC program hosted its first race of the Freedom Run Series this past Saturday. 

The White Hot 5K serves as a race to honor and celebrate the life and service of Ashley White-Stumpf, a 2009 Kent State graduate who was killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in October 2011.

The 5K began at 8 a.m. at the ROTC building and took runners through campus on their way to the finish line, located by the spirit rock at the front of campus.

The race registered 365 runners, in addition to day-of walk-ins who helped to raise roughly $3,500 for the Ashley White Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“It gives us a lot of joy to see how many people come out and honor her and run for a purpose,” said Deborah White, Ashley’s mother.

Runners were greeted by crowds of supporters at the finish line. Mark Buzzy, a junior business management major, won this year’s race, with a time of 18:37.

“Having all these people together—people that Ashley grew up with—and seeing the new ROTC programs coming though year to year, it’s just a great experience to honor her memory,” said Josh White, Ashley’s brother. 

The White Hot 5k, along with the Freedom Fun Series serve as big fundraisers for the ROTC program to offer scholarships to Army ROTC cadets.

“We’ve put a lot of money into the race this year,” said Joe Paydock, a senior geology major and training officer for the ROTC program.

Jessica Barone is a student affairs reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]