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Run raises money for Montana Firefighters Memorial in Laurel

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Posted at 8:47 AM, Jun 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-11 10:47:19-04

After a virtual run in 2020, and a combination virtual and live run last year, the Montana Firefighters Memorial run returned fully live to Laurel Friday night.

The run raises money to help with the memorial.

The festivities started with the singing of the National Anthem near the memorial.

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And then the runners started took off. The run included a 5k run and a one-mile walk.

"Laurel has rallied behind this memorial," said Amber Parrish, race director. "And so it really brings out a lot of folks that are in support of the memorial but also the firefighters and what they do for the community."

The community and the firefighters bring their appreciation and support to the memorial, which was dedicated in 2003 and became a memorial park in 2017.

"If you look over here, there are several guys in the green shirts, and that group is a very strong group," said Ken Olson, a retired Laurel volunteer firefighter and former Laurel mayor. "That group pushed and worked and tirelessly to to ensure that this became a reality."

Olson talked about the importance of the memorial.

"There's a need for a tribute to the fallen firefighters," Olson said. "There is a tribute because a lot of those people who had family friends who did not come back from the last call. Definitely some of those lives are forgotten. These are immortalized."

The memorial includes the names of Montana firefighters who died in the line of duty, along with others who have put in a certain number of years of service.

"This is a wonderful memorial for the community of Laurel but it's really a statewide memorial," said Parrish. "It honors all firefighters that have fallen in the line of duty throughout the state of Montana. So it's something great for the entire state."

The memorial run has raised about $40,000 over the last four years.

A ceremony to honor fallen firefighters starts at noon on Saturday.