BALLINGER – The Justin Byler Memorial 5K Run, Walk and Ride will be held Monday, May 29 will begin at 8 a.m. at the Ballinger High School parking lot.

BALLINGER – The Justin Byler Memorial 5K Run, Walk and Ride will be held Monday, May 29 will begin at 8 a.m. at the Ballinger High School parking lot. There is a $25 entry fee per person, which includes a commemorative t-shirt. Entries received by May 22, are guaranteed a t-shirt.

All proceeds go to the Justin Byler Scholarship Fund.

Last year, the first event, organized by Ballinger graduate and veteran Chad McDuffee, raised over $3,000.

McDuffee organized the event to honor his friend and fellow serviceman William Justin Byler, who was killed in Iraq on Oct. 31, 2005 when an IED exploded near him. McDuffee, who with Byler was a 2000 graduate of Ballinger High School, said he organized the run because he truly missed his friend. Byler enlisted in 2002.

Byler, who was 23 when he died, was honored by the community and beyond at the time of his death when his service was attended by thousands of mourners.

In February of 2011, the community and the Texas Department of Transportation dedicated of six miles of Highway 158 as William Justin Byler Memorial Highway in February of 2011.

McDuffee, an amputee who was injured while serving in Iraq, will lead the run, which will start at 8 a.m. at the Ballinger High School parking lot where all runners, walkers and cyclists will gather. The event will also end in the high school parking lot.

“After the success of last year’s event that raised over $3,000 for the scholarship, we thought it was important to carry on and make a tradition out of honoring our hometown hero,” McDuffee said.

Participants will be able to leave the event finish line and go straight to the Runnels County Courthouse lawn to partake in the Memorial Day presentation sponsored by the local VFW and American Legion.

“Let us remember all those sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives that have been lost in defense of our nation,” McDuffee said. “ It is because the sacrifice of a great few that we may remain free.”