NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KLTV) - In an effort to remember the heroic actions of fallen Army Lt. Kile G. West, his Alma Mater is carrying on with an annual event in his name.
“He was killed in action on Memorial Day in 2007 in Iraq,” said Major James Attaway, chair of the Department of Military Science at Stephen F. Austin State University. “It would mean a lot to honor Kyle and his family.”
West was among a team of army soldiers killed in action by an IED north Baghdad. According to Army officials, he was attempting to rescue the flight crew of a downed aircraft when the blast happened.
Over a decade later, his legacy still lives on in the heart of East Texas.
“We still wanted to have the opportunity to get the name out there and get the meaning out there to be able to support Kile,” said Attaway.
This year’s Kile G. Memorial Run marks the second year for the fundraising event. According to Attaway, all the proceeds from the race go toward a scholarship which is awarded to a cadet each year in West’s name.
“Obviously with the COVID-19, we had to cancel that in person race," said Attaway. “So we’ve opened it up to any way you can do 5 or 10k will be up to you.”
From March 30th - April 5th, online submissions are being accepted from anyone who wants to participate. They are being collected and shared through the Lt. Kile G. West Virtual Memorial Run Facebook page.
“So that could either be on a treadmill, that could be alone social-distancing in a park, that could be biking or rowing on a row machine,” said Attaway. “My kids and my wife, we’re signed up for it, so we plan to do it Saturday. We are going to run our 10k as a family, so we’re looking forward to that.”
It’s an effort that pales in comparison to the one West gave many years ago, but it’s a step toward something much bigger.
“I think it’s a time for unity,” said Attaway. “We’re seeing the best of Americans come out, so it’s good to see your fellow neighbors willing to lend a helping hand and try to come together as a community.”
To learn more about the memorial race or to submit your race time, visit the SFA Army ROTC Facebook page.
For more information on how you can donate to the Kile G. West Scholarship Fund, you can email Major Attaway here.