Army ROTC hosted 5k in honor of fallen soldier

ROTC cadets approach the finish line at The WhiteHot 5K race across the Kent State campus Saturday, April 26, 2014. The race honors former fallen ROTC soldier Ashley White, who was killed in Afghanistan in October of 2011. The money raised from the race goes into a scholarship fund bearing Ashley’s name that benefits ROTC Cadets at Kent.

Mary Booth

The Army ROTC hosted its third annual WhiteHot 5k Saturday morning in honor of fallen soldier and Kent State graduate Ashley White.

“Ashley was a member of the Kent State ROTC program, she was an outstanding person and an outstanding soldier,” said Lt. Col. Mark Piccone, the commander of the Army ROTC program. “She was killed in action a couple years ago in Afghanistan supporting special operations forces.”

The Army ROTC has hosted a memorial run for Ashley every year since her death because fitness was such a big part of her life.

“Running wasn’t something that she picked up in ROTC — it was a lifestyle,” Ashley’s father Robert White said. “She had been a runner all her life, and it wasn’t a good day if she didn’t get to go out and run.”

Robert said the 5k had another great turnout this year, with people coming out to show their support for Ashley.

The race began in front of Terrace Hall and ended at the rock in the front of campus. Members of the Army ROTC handed out Ashley’s dog tags to all of the finishers.

“The dog tags are used to represent the military and also as a remembrance factor,” White said. “One was given out before the race and another once they finished.”

After the 5k, both Mr. and Mrs. White presented the awards for top contestants. They also honored senior psychology major Caitlin Ciralsky, who was awarded with the Ashley White Scholarship, given to an Army ROTC cadet who exemplifies the kind of person that Ashley was.

Seth Holt, senior English major and Army ROTC cadet, participated in the 5k this year. He said the race was very important to him and all of the members of the ROTC program.

“I wanted to run with my friends and everyone who was in the ROTC program,” Holt said. “But I also felt it was a very selfless thing to do, and I feel like Ashley White deserved to have us out running in the event.”

Drew Russell, senior exercise science major and Army ROTC cadet, also participated in the 5k. Russell said the race is important because people who don’t normally run don’t usually challenge themselves for a cause.

“I felt honored to get to run in the race today,” Russell said. “I love coming out here because it’s very motivational to see all of the people running for Ashley.”

Russell said the Army ROTC will continue to show its support for the family and friends of the White’s.

“I didn’t know Ashley, but I do know her mother,” Russell said. “And I know she really appreciates us coming out here and supporting her.”

For more information about Ashley White, visit

Contact Mary Booth at [email protected].