You're My Hero Run to raise money for monument honoring fallen soldiers

BIG RAPIDS — Organizers for the upcoming You’re My Hero Run aim to raise funds to honor Michigan’s fallen military members, including a local soldier who lost his life 10 years ago.

The run is a 5K and is set to start at noon on Saturday, June 25, beginning at Hemlock Park, running to the Big Rapids National Guard Armory, 15970 S. Bronson Ave., then running back to Hemlock Park to finish the race.

The cost to participate is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Proceeds from the race and activities will be used to build a monument in honor of the soldiers who lost their lives during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, said Melissa Shilling, one of the event’s organizers.

“On Nov. 18, 2006, my brother passed away in Iraq, so this year marks the 10-year anniversary of his death,” Shilling said. “We want to establish a monument in Reed City in honor of him and the over 200 other soldiers from Michigan who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Army Spc. Bradley Shilling, 22, of Stanwood, died in Baghdad from injuries suffered when a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle during combat operations. Shilling was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized), Big Rapids. He was a 2003 graduate from Reed City High School.

Shilling said she has been in touch with Reed City officials, who are supportive of the future memorial. One possible location for the monument is at the Reed City Depot.

Although a location has not been finalized, the intent is for the monument to be placed in Reed City on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Along with the run, Shilling plans to have a petting zoo, food, games, T-shirt sales and more, following the run.

Shilling would love to see about 200 people participate in the race. A total of $1,000 already has been collected in donations, with a goal of raising $2,000 more at the upcoming event.

“We want as many people as possible to participate,” she said. “We’re hoping to bring the community out in support of this.”

Those interested in participating can preregister online at Participants can register online until the day of the event. On site registration will be available beginning at 11 a.m. on race day. However, organizers encourage preregistration as a matter of convenience.

Shilling is looking forward to the event and the future monument, both intended to give recognition to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the United States.

“We want to remember the fallen,” she said. “That’s what our goal is.”