Story by: Staff Sgt. Gregory Illich
Texas State Guard
HEMPSTEAD, Texas – The 8th Regiment, Texas State Guard, honored Texas service members at the 8th annual Watermelon Run for The Fallen, held in Hempstead, Texas, August 19, 2017. The event recognizes those service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice serving their state and nation since September 11, 2001.
Guard members assisted the event organizers by placing photos of the 834 fallen service members along a 5K run from Hempstead High School to the Staff Sgt. Jeffery Lee Hartley Memorial park. Hartley, a Hempstead native, was killed in Iraq in 2008.
Sgt. Eseil Hernandez, 8th Regiment, was chosen to read names of the fallen service members. “It was heartbreaking to read the names of so many brave service members. I was proud to have the honor read the roll of those who have sacrificed so much for Texas and our country,” stated Hernandez.
This is the third year the 8th Regiment has participated in this event. “The assistance of the Texas State Guard makes the event go so smoothly and so seamlessly. They have that mindset, that mentality: all right, we have a job to do, we are going to do it,” stated Scott Duncan, Vice President of the Watermelon Run.
This annual event included Gold Star Families, who have lost a loved one in the service to the country, members of the Texas National Guard, U.S. Army and U.S. Marines, Hempstead residents and hundreds of visitors.