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SSG Aaron Butler Memorial Purple Heart Run at Eagle Island State Park

Posted at 1:50 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 15:50:47-04

EAGLE, Idaho — SSG. Aaron Butler gave his life for our country fighting with the U.S. Army Special forces in Afghanistan, every year Aaron is remembered during a memorial run.

"It means the world to me and my family to know that his sacrifice does not go unnoticed," said Adam Butler, Aaron's brother. "You are here to sweat, laugh and cry with us."

Aaron Butler was a four-time wrestling state champion in Utah, practiced mixed martial arts and served his country, Aaron died at the age of 27 while fighting in Afghanistan.

"When I met him he was protecting gold mines in Africa and then fast forward we were on a team together going to Afghanistan," said Wren Murray, a fellow soldier in the special forces. "He’s just a hard charger, he was always front of the patrol, we were always leading the assault he just always wanted to get after it, just an All-American."

Dan Nelson started the Aaron Butler Memorial Purple Heart Run which gives people the option of a 5k, a 10k or an unknown distance as people come together to celebrate the freedoms our fallen heroes fought for and to make sure people embrace the suck.

"I feel like Dan has this culture of veterans, not victims," said Murray. "So people can come out and support other veterans who have fallen, be proud of what they did and be proud of their loved ones."

This event also honors law enforcement and first responders, every year we run into Kevin Holtry and his former Boise Swat family, Holtry was shot five times in 2016 while in the line of duty leaving him paralyzed, he just received the Idaho Medal of Honor from the Governor.

"I rode with team High Mountain Bobcat from Bellevue, Idaho, we came all the way down from Blaine County," said Holtry. "A five or a 10k is nothing compared to what those that gave the ultimate sacrifice did, so you just have to do it."

But everybody who takes on this challenge gets a little bit of extra motivation coming down the home stretch as the course is lined with pictures of heroes from Idaho that have gave their lives for our country.

Having so many people come out for the fourth edition of this run means the world to veterans and those who knew Aaron Butler.

"To see people show up, remember and care about the ones who have fallen, the ones who have passed serving our country, it makes me happy," said Murray.

The Aaron Butler Memorial Foundation raises money to put together community events like the memorial run, this non-profit has a goal of making sure their sacrifice is not forgotten.