NORTH ADAMS -- Adam DeMarsico had never run a 5K road race before Sunday, but on Veterans Day, he was one of several family members hitting the pavement in honor of his brother, U.S. Army Spc. Michael DeMarsico II, who died from injuries sustained from an enemy improvised explosive device in Afghani stan on Aug. 16.
The first annual "Up Front for DeMar 5k Run and Walk," which raised $4,115 for a scholarship in DeMarsico's name and drew 125 runners and more than 35 walkers, was organized by family friend Eileen Moyn ahan and DeMarsico's aunt, Laurie Babcock Douglas.
"I'm very pleased by the turnout," Adam DeMarsico said after finishing the run. Family members who ran in the 5k included Douglas and her son, Jordan Moran, 13, as well as his sister, Kailey.
DeMarsico's parents, Lisa and Michael, along with his sisters, Aubrey and Leigha, participated in the one-mile walk.
"This is what community is all about," Lisa DeMarsico said, holding a picture of her son prior to the race. "My biggest hope is that everyone here will also go to the Veterans Day ceremony after this. It's been so small for the last few years. I want to see people honor our veterans and the attendance at the ceremony revert back to a time when it was much larger."
Moynahan said the race and walk, which takes its name from DeMarsico's nickname "DeMar," came about after she and Douglas attended a run for fallen soldiers in Scituate. Douglas is a sister of Lisa DeMarsico.
"We wanted to do something this year, when everything was fresh in people's minds," she said. "We were looking for a time to hold it, as we didn't want to hold it anywhere close to the race in honor of Jocelyn LeClair. We didn't want to take away from her memory, so we decided on Veterans Day. We figured we'd start off small this year and grow it over the next few years.
The event drew more than the pair could have expected, with 110 runners pre-registering for the race after it was posted on Facebook.
"We want people to remember Michael, but we also want people to realize that there are lots of Michaels out there," Moynahan said.
Douglas added that members of DeMarsico's unit in Afghanistan, as well as many of their wives in Washington, were also running in his honor Sunday.
DeMarsico's memory was honored not only by the race and walk, but also during the city's annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Park.
"With all due respect to all of our veterans, today we also honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom," Mayor Richard J.
He noted that DeMarsico's youngest sister, Leigha, a student at Brayton Elementary School, had once again walked in the parade and had joined him at the ceremony.
"A year ago today, she marched with me in the parade, as her brother was about to be deployed to Afghanistan," Alcombright said. "I am honored to have her march again with me today."
The mayor also spoke about DeMarsico's love for his hometown, which continued even when he was stationed in Afghanistan, as he often asked his parents about what was happening in North Adams.
"He was proud to be a soldier. He did not see it as an obligation, but as a privilege to serve," Alcombright said.
Keynote speaker Larry Connors, past state commander of the American Legion, also encouraged those in attendance to not only honor those who have served, but those who are currently serving.
"On this great day, in this beautiful valley, let us leave here secure in the knowledge that a new generation of men and women are on duty ready to protect us," Connors said.
Elsewhere in North County, a Veterans Day ceremony was also held Sunday in Williamstown at the Richard Ruether American Legion Post 152 on Latham Street.
The American Legion Post 160's Veterans Day ceremony in Adams, planned for 11 a.m., Sunday, in front of the Town Hall, was moved to the Adams Visitor Center after "items of concern" were discovered in a car on Park Street earlier that morning. A State Police Bomb Squad unit was called in to investigate and the street was closed for more than four hours.
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The winners are ...
The first annual ‘Up Front for DeMar 5k Run and Walk' was held Sunday in honor of U.S. Army Spc. Michael DeMarsico II, who died from injuries sustained from an enemy improvised explosive device in Afghanistan on Aug. 16. The event raised $4,115 for a scholarship in DeMarsico's name and drew 125 runners and more than 35 walkers.
Timothy Allard, 26, Pittsfield 19:07
Jim Priete, 48, North Adams 20:09
John Guzzi, 35, North Adams 21:11
Cynthia Gardner, 61, Pittsfield 22:08
Audrey Witter, 48, North Adams 22:52
Cate Byrne, 12, Readsboro, Vt. 23:36