Sunday morning service members and residents of western Massachusetts remembered a man who made the ultimate sacrifice.
It’s been three years since Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan of Springfield was killed in a home grown terror attack in Tennessee.
Sullivan was one of five service-members killed in 2015 when a gunman opened fire at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga.
After his death, Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan was posthumously honored with the Purple Heart and Springfield”s Medal of Valor.
“Everybody across the country, we’ll never forget that. Never,” said Jane Alaimo of Agawam. “And I’m just very happy that everybody is banding together. And that’s what makes it so successful.”
Sunday, more than 460 runners laced up their sneakers, for the annual Remembrance Run.
Runners of all ages, ethnicities, and genders, bolted or walked out of the parking lot of Sullivan’s brother’s bar Nathan Bills in Springfield for the 5k run and 2 mile walk.
It took 9 months of planning. Dozens of volunteers to make this day a success.
Servicemen take the term “Brothers in Arms” very seriously as all 60 volunteers are active duty, reserve or coast guard.
Event organizer Benjamin Cooper told 22News, “It’s the Sullivan family. They’re a gold star family. We’re going to do anything for them. They’re our brothers in arms and whenever they call, we’ll be there to answer the call.”
“He earned it…I mean, he lost his life, saving lives. It’s amazing and respectful that the city honors him like Pope Francis honors him. And we just do the same thing,” said the late Sullivan’s brother Joe. “We want to honor my brother’s memory.”
Joe told 22News he hopes the Remembrance Run in his brother’s honor will live on for generations to come.
Proceeds from Sunday’s event will go toward the Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan Scholarship Fund and also toward the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.