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Fundraising run is back for second tour

A Marine grabs a set of dog tags at the end of last year’s inaugural Warrior 5K. The event raised enough to give out $4,000 in scholarships to 2014 graduates.

In its inaugural year, the Warrior 196 Memorial 5K raised enough money to distribute four $1,000 scholarships to high school students in Independent School District 196.

For organizer Joel Kiekbusch, that was a great way to honor the five students from District 196 who have gave the ultimate sacrifice serving the United States.

“It did really, really well. We were really pleased with the turnout,” said Kiekbusch.

A $1,000 scholarship was given to a student at each of the District 196 high schools. One scholarship each is issued for the categories of arts, academics, athletics and military enlistment. The Warrior 196 Trust endeavors to develop students who have upheld a measure of excellence and fortitude in each of the categories.

The 2014 scholarship recipients included Kayanna Beswick-Johnson of Eastview High school, Andre Nelson of Rosemount High School, John Chrisfield of Apple Valley High School and Logan Joerger of Eagan High School.

With lots of runners in the area, Kiekbusch said he’s hopeful that they will come out and honor, remember and pay forward the legacies of the five young men.

“These were some amazing young men that died serving a higher purpose than themselves. We hope to pay that forward,” said Kiekbusch.

In 2013, Kiekbusch wanted to come up with a way to celebrate the lives of Marine LCPL Daniel Olsen, U.S. Ranger Cpl. Ben Kopp, U.S. Army 1Lt. Christopher Goeke, Marine Cpt. Nathanael Doring and U.S. Army Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt. Being an educator, he thought a scholarship would be the best way to honor the sacrifice the young men made.

Kiekbusch contacted the families of the soldiers and asked if they would support a scholarship in their sons’ honor and they all agreed. Kopp’s mother, Jill Stephenson, and Goeke’s father, Randy Goeke, partnered with Kiekbusch to help establish the Warrior 196 Memorial Trust.

With a successful year behind them, Kiekbusch said the goal is to grow participation so the trust can distribute scholarships on a long-term basis.

This year’s 5K run/walk will be held at 9 a.m. Sept. 13 at Apple Valley High School. The location of the event will rotate each year among the four high schools in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school system.

The course winds through residential neighborhoods before the homestretch on Hayes Road back to the finish line at AVHS. This year’s event will be time chipped.

At the finish line, participants receive a commemorative Warrior 196 dog tag, courtesy of the United States Army Recruiting Office in Lakeville. Participants will also receive a t-shirt. There also will be refreshments.

Registration for the 2014 Warrior 196 Memorial 5K is available at or Cost is $25 until Aug. 31 and then it will go up to $30.

Packet pick-up will be available at Run N Fun in Burnsville from 4 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 and Sept. 11 and then 3 to 6 p.m. Sept. 12.

To learn more about the Warrior 196 Memorial Trust and the 5K visit

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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