PAGELAND — The Jason Hicks memorial 5K run/walk was held on Saturday, beginning at the Pageland Community Center and winding through the town.
“It went fantastic,” said Theressa Hicks, organizer and mother to the late U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jason Hicks.“We’ve had the most runners we had. This is the fifth year we had it. We had 155 signed up to run; I think actually 152 ran.”
The proceeds from the 5K went to the Jason Hicks Memorial Scholarship, which has been helping students since 2003.
Hicks was killed in action at age 25 on March 23, 2003 while in Afghanistan. Hicks was on a medical evacuation of two Afghan children when his helicopter crashed.
“We did the first scholarship in May 2003, just a couple of months after his helicopter went down.” Hicks said. “It funded itself until a few years ago. That money was going to run out; we were either going to have to abolish the scholarship or have a fundraiser. So we started the 5K as a fundraiser.”
Hicks said the 5K has grown each year since it began.
Hicks said the scholarship will be awarded on Friday, May 29, to a graduating Central High School student in Pageland. The amount of money raised was not available at press time.
Hicks said her son served not only in the military, but in his community as well. He volunteered for several organizations including the Pageland Fire Department and Rescue Squad.
“Jason was that type of person,” she said.
Hicks said the scholarship is not based on grades or need, but is given to an applicant who seems to share Jason Hicks’ love for helping others.
Though Jason’s death has been tragic for friends and family, Theressa Hicks said the run and walk is not a somber occasion.
“It’s more of a festive occasion,” she said. “It is to honor Jason’s memory. In doing that, we tell Jason stories, reminisce. It’s a fun time. It’s a socializing time.”
Hicks said the 5K drew crowds from Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and New Jersey.
We have a host of volunteers,” she said. “We could not attempt to do it on our own.”
Reach reporter Randy Garner at 843-537-5261 and follow him on Twitter @CherawChronicle.