Tyler Azalea 10-K Dedicated To Memory of Mark Wilson - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Tyler Azalea 10-K Dedicated To Memory of Mark Wilson

This years Tyler Azalea 10-K, carried special meaning.
The race was dedicated to the memory of Mark Wilson. Mark was killed last February as he tried to stop the gunman during the Smith County Courthouse shooting.
Friends said Mark was passionate about the race and the local children's charity it benefits.
Saturday was a beautiful morning and the spirit of fun was in the air. Friends said it was just the way Mark would have wanted it.
"Mark was a true Tyler hero on a day of tragedy in our city," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber. "There were also those heroes like Mark Wilson that we can remember. So while it was a tragic period, it was also a period that showed some of Tyler's best, Mark Wilson. So it's only fitting that we would honor him in this way on this day."
Five years ago, Mark went to his friend and the events organizer and asked that he re-establish the race. A race that benefits an organization dear to Mark, The Children's Village.
"We offer out of home care for abused, neglected, abandoned children from our area," said Chuck Long, Executive Director for The Children's Village. "A couple of years ago Mark was the raquetball professional at Wood Creek, and he did some tournaments for Children's Village at that time."
Saturday, the same children Mark wanted to help were honoring the sacrifice he made. Memorial pots were being decorated in Mark's memory.
"The pots will hold hand prints," said Kimberly Abeldt with the Junior League of Tyler, "because he was not here to inherit the world from our forefathers but we are leaving it here for children. (Mark) did exactly that in preserving life by giving his own."
Though he was not there to share in the laughter and the joy, friends said Mark's spirit was with every person at the race, and that it was truly a day made to honor a hero.
"I think he would be most excited, very excited," said Chuck Long.
Two of the memorial pots the children made will be placed at The Children's Village, a third will go to Mark's mother.
This year's turn out for the Azalea 10-K was one of the largest in the race's history.
1225 people participated in the race.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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