Running to remember

Columbia, S.C. (WACH) - Saturday morning started off with a run that isn't your typical 5k.

Family, friends, and runners alike came together to sweat it out for the Ryan Rawl Freedom Run.

Ryan was a soldier and a member of the Richland County Sheriff's Department who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012.

His mom told WACH how much it means to their family to have the community come together to remember Ryan in such a special way.

"We are just absolutely amazed and awed by the response to this event today and to the hundreds of people that are here and that are showing their support for not only my son, but for all of the military. For all of the fallen soldiers." says Diane Rawl.

And Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says the run is a way to show Ryan will never be forgotten, and neither will the lives of those who have also given the ultimate sacrifice.

"One of the things that we don't ever want to happen is that people forget the sacrifice that he made. And we're here this morning because of the sacrifice men and women like Ryan has made to give us freedom to be out here. So this is just a small part of what we can do in his honor." Lott states.

So what would Ryan think about the event?

"Well, first of all, he's tickled to death that every single one in his family is running today. And I'm sure he is laughing himself to death because his mother is running and I am not a runner or an exercise person at all." laughs Diane.

But you don't have to be a serious runner to know that, like Ryan, this event will not soon be forgotten.