Winona Lake — Memorial Day 2016 marked the 6th annual Tracey Yeager Memorial Day 5k. The race, which honors navy veteran Tracey Yeager, started at Winona Lake Park. Before the race began, Commander Steven Fuchs spoke to the crowd about the true meaning of Memorial Day.
“It’s an honor and a joy to be here today,” said Fuchs. “Memorial Day isn’t about a day off of work, Memorial Day isn’t about a three day weekend and it’s not about a cook out. It can’t be. We need to honor our fallen.”
Fuchs went on to honor three fallen veterans: Frank “Puj” Hooks, Adam Brown and Tracy Yeager.
“Puj was a phenomenal officer,” said Fuchs. “He really took me under his wing.”
Fuchs remembers the day, June 26, 2004, that Puj was flying over the Eastern Atlantic and he didn’t come home. The rescue effort was unsuccessful.
“Taps still cuts deep for me today,” said Fuchs. “That’s what I think of on Memorial Day.”
Adam Brown was a Navy SEAL who served on SEAL Team 6.
“Adam was a guy that loved God, loved his family and loved America,” said Fuchs. “Adam is a story of persistence. He was blind in one eye from an injury but it didn’t stop him. He took fire from his team so they could defeat the enemy. Adam left behind a wife and two kids.”
And lastly, Fuchs honored Tracey. “Tracey was my sister and God took her home Memorial Day 2010. So I think about her on Memorial Day.”
Fuchs went on to ask that everyone honor veterans, those alive and fallen, in three ways. He asked that everyone help veterans with their job searches, give back through charities like Wounded Warrior and that everyone take a moment to thank veterans for their service.
The Tracey Yeager Memorial Day 5k is held each Memorial Day with two goals. The first goal is to remember Yeager and others who have served. The second goal is honor her in a way that is beneficial to the community. So far, the 5k has raised $150,000 for Tracey’s Trail Funds.