This year's Chattanooga Heroes Run, held July 15, raised $7,000 more than last year's race, bringing the Community Fund of Greater Chattanooga $22,000 closer to its fundraising goal to build the Fallen Five Memorial.
The memorial will honor the four Marines and Navy sailor who died in the July 16, 2015, terrorist attack in Chattanooga.
On Tuesday afternoon, in the shadows of the Life Force hangar atop Erlanger Health System's main campus, officials presented a check to the Fallen Five Memorial Fund for the proceeds from the second annual Heroes Run, which is sponsored by Erlanger's Level One Trauma Center.
The memorial will be built along the Riverwalk and is scheduled for completion in July 2019. It will honor Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire "Skip" Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt, and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith.
Along with the money raised during the runs, Hamilton County and the city of Chattanooga will each contribute $250,000 to the $750,000 needed for the project. With the latest contribution, the fund is three-quarters of the way to its goal.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke praised the hospital for its effort organizing the race.
"They didn't just want to put on a run — they wanted to make sure that funds that came out of that were put to good use " Berke said during Tuesday's ceremony. "Today is another step toward that happening."
On Nov. 1, the three artists tasked with designing the memorial will present their ideas to the memorial committee.
"We will have the first visuals from the artists' teams and what they propose," said Katelyn Kirnie, director of public art for the city. "That will be really exciting, because we'll get to see the three options of what the space will look like."
Examples of the designs will be displayed on the first floor of city hall, and citizens will be able to comment on the proposals.
Erlanger's Liz Hedges said this year's Heroes Run saw many improvements over the first race, including a revamped course that looped along the Riverwalk.
"The other thing that makes this run successful is the families come back and they're at every mile," she said, adding that approximately 14,000 people participated in the sold-out run.
It's possible that the memorial's groundbreaking will be coordinated with next year's Heroes Run, Hedges said.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, who also attended the check presentation, said he's excited about the memorial's progress.
"We're about to see come to fruition the reality of a memorial to represent the Fallen Five," he said. "We expect big things next year."
Contact staff writer Elizabeth Fite at email@example.com or 423-757-6673.