WhiteHot 5K helps ROTC pay tribute to fallen soldier


ROTC cadets approach the finish line at The WhiteHot 5K race across the Kent State campus that honors former fallen ROTC soldier Ashley White-Stumpf, who was killed in Afghanistan in October of 2011. The money raised from the race goes into a scholarship fund bearing White-Stumpf’s name that benefits ROTC Cadets at Kent.

Sky Fought

The Army ROTC program will pay tribute to one of their fallen with the fourth annual WhiteHot 5K on April 18.

First Lieutenant Ashley White-Stumpf graduated and was commissioned from the Kent State University Army ROTC in 2009. White-Stumpf became a part of an elite group of woman soldiers called the Cultural Support Team (CST).

Her team conducted searches of Afghan women and children, built relationships with them and worked to break down cultural barriers. White-Stumpf’s unit supported the Green Berets and the Army Rangers.

White-Stumpf was killed in combat on Oct. 22, 2011, in the Kandahar province of Afghanistan. She was the first solider in her unit to die in action and was given multiple awards for her service.

In April 2011, Jennifer Abate, a special assistant in the provost’s office, and Lt. Col. Mark Piccone rallied together to create the first White Hot Run 5K as a way to pay tribute to White-Stumpf’s life and service.

Abate said in a phone interview that she had always envisioned the event continuing on year after year.

“There was a lot of support from the local community, Ashley’s sorority sisters and her family to put this event together,” Abate said.

Joe Paydock, the operations officer for Army ROTC and part of the committee planning the run this year, said he thought choosing a run to tribute White-Stumpf was a great idea because she was an avid runner. 

“She brought this incredible fitness to the table,” Paydock said. “She was so strong and very much driven.”

Taylor Hoff, a senior public health major and part of the student committee planning the run, said White-Stumpf is one of the many heroes who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

“She deserves as much love and support from her community as possible,” Hoff said.

The race will be April 18 at 8 a.m., and all are invited to attend and participate. The race will begin at Terrace Hall and finishing at the rock on front campus. The race registration ends on April 17 at 5 p.m. and costs $25.

All proceeds raised from the race will be donated to ROTC scholarships to current Kent State Army ROTC cadets who display a zest for life, a perpetual smile and a dedication to physical fitness, like White-Stumpf, as well as a dedication to serving others.

“The goal is to not only have a tribute to Ashley’s life and service, but also keeping her name a part of the program and to offer this award in her name,” Paydock said.

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