Walk to honor fallen soldiers returns to Okla. highway
By BEAU SIMMONS | Stillwater NewsPress, Okla. | Published: March 15, 2017
Stillwater, Okla. (Tribune News Service) — Earl Granville remembers the explosion that killed Maj. Scott Hagerty and SPC Derek Holland in June 2008 near Zormat, Afghanistan. That same blast from an improvised explosive device cost him a leg. Still, he feels grateful – to be alive and for the sacrifice that took those men away from their families. Wednesday morning he and a contingent will pay their respects to Hagerty and Holland with a 7.5-mile walk along US Highway 177 from State Highway 33 in Perkins to Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater.
That section of 177 up to the city limits of Stillwater has been designated since 2011 as “Major Scott Hagerty USAR Memorial Highway." Hagerty, a Stillwater native, graduated from SHS in 1984 and from OSU in 1993. Granville first walked it last year. He learned about Hagerty’s hometown from Scott’s wife Daphne. Friend Rick Kolberg, an Oklahoma native, helped organize last year’s walk. He and Granville are both members of Operation Enduring Warrior - a nonprofit support foundation for wounded veterans that sponsors athletic events.
“Rick is from this area, heard about Scott Hagerty, said let’s get together and do this,” Granville said. “I couldn’t believe, for not even saying much of about it, the city of Stillwater, people seeing the American flags, getting out of their vehicles, saluting us.”
Granville couldn’t believe the reception they received on their walk last year. It made him want to come back.
“I can’t do this once and that’s it. I’d like to make it annual,” he said.
Every year on June 3, the day of the explosion, Granville gets together with Holland’s family for PT, as he calls it, in remembrance. He wants to honor Hagerty’s family and the Stillwater community the same way.
“I want to pay respect for Scott’s family as well,” he said. “It’s just one way to respectfully say, I’m grateful to still be here and they’re not going to be forgotten by me.”
There’s also an invitation to join Kolberg, Granville and dozens of others on the walk – in person or in spirit. They will be setting up at Ampride Truck Stop in Perkins between 8:30-8:45 a.m., and leaving for the walk at 9:30 a.m. They would ask that people RSVP up on the Facebook event page. They can also follow along in a virtual manner.
“If they want to jump in they can jump in,” Kolberg said, but if not, “we encourage people to virtually do a little fitness workout in honor of Derek and Scott, doing 100 pushups, then post it on the page.”
Or use the hashtags #HonoringMajorHagerty2017 #HonoringTheirSacrifice #NeverForget
“Last year, I wanted to keep it low-key,” Granville said. “Then I see people over in Great Britain doing workouts for two guys they never met.”
©2017 the Stillwater NewsPress (Stillwater, Okla.)
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