SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Honoring those who served this Fourth of July, as some runners participated in this year’s Firecracker4 in memory of two local heroes.
“When I run every day, it’s with the flag, to meet people and to remind people about our fallen soldiers and active soldiers too,” said Andy LaPorta.
Over 1,800 people registered for this year’s run, with those honoring the lives lost marching behind them, to recognize those who make celebrating the Fourth possible.
“Our service people have given the ultimate sacrifice, I mean these are young, in their 20’s, that have passed,” said Michael Newhouse.
Newhouse and LaPorta represent Flags 4 Fallen, carrying flags in memory of two soldiers from the Capital Region who were lost too soon.
LaPorta participated in honor of Codi Patenaude, the 26-year-old Army specialist who was laid to rest at Saratoga National Cemetery last month.
While Patenaude’s family couldn’t attend Sunday’s race, LaPorta made sure to make them part of the day, “I reached out to his friends and family and they forwarded my post and I had them write down their thoughts and memories. I’m going to be carrying them with me today, and then I’m going to, with the flag and the memories everyone shares, I’m going to be sharing them with the family after.”
Newhouse, meanwhile, carried his flag for Abigail Jenks, the paratrooper who passed away in a training accident at Fort Bragg earlier this year.
“It’s a shame that the world lost such a beautiful soul. Keeping her light shining is why I continue to do this. This flag will run many races, this flag will continue on, and that’s why this is so important to me,” he said.
Following the race, Newhouse took pictures with Abby’s family, before giving the flag he ran with to her sister.