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Aaron Butler Purple Heart Memorial Run remembers fallen heroes

Posted at 2:15 PM, Aug 19, 2023

EAGLE, Idaho — "Great things do not happen because it's your destiny, your destiny happens because you do great things." That's a quote from Aaron Butler who gave his life fighting for our country.

Aaron Butler was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2017. He was a staff sergeant with the Army Special Forces.

"Aaron would be here if he wasn’t the member of that team that went down," said his brother Adam.

Adam ran with an American flag in the Aaron Butler Memorial Purple Heart Run touching the signs of fallen heroes that guided runners to the finish line at Eagle Island State Park.

Fallen heroes line the course

"This year I made a point to touch as many as I could," said Adam, the president of the Aaron Butler Memorial Foundation. "I know that each one has an army that was left behind, an army who supported them and misses them every day."

The camaraderie of this run is off the charts with full teams of law enforcement, we saw challenged athletes battling through in a wheelchair and there were people running the 5k, the 10k or an unknown distance in tactical weight vests.

Law enforcement had a big presence at the run

"I thought it was so fun," said Mackenzie Rhodes, who won the female 5k and her mother Misty finished second she found out about this race from one of her patients at the Boise VA. "What better way to honor our veterans than to come out and run. It was fantastic, I loved the course and the memorials were that extra touch."

Dan Nelson served with Aaron Butler and he started the Aaron Butler Memorial Foundation. This marks the sixth year and this year it featured more runners, they sold out shirts and it means so much.

Dan Nelson presents Mackenzie Rhodes with her first place prize

"It’s more then just a run," said Adam. "There is more to it than just people showing up and suffering together, it is for people who know what it costs to be free."

If you want to learn more about the Aaron Butler Memorial Foundation click here. If you want to donate to this non-profit click here.

The finish line