AUBURN, Mass. – Skies cleared and the sun smiled down on Auburn just before the annual road race to honor the late Maj. David Brodeur kicked-off on Sunday at North American Martyrs Church.
More than 400 runners and walkers honored Brodeur at the second annual “Klepto” 5K to benefit the Major David Brodeur Memorial Foundation, as his family flew in from Colorado to lead the well-attended road race.
“I am extremely overwhelmed,” said Susie Brodeur, David’s wife. “This was an amazing experience, and David would be so proud. How many people he’s touched just grows and grows and grows.
“I feel like I’m a part of Auburn,” she added. “I’m so happy to be here, and I can’t wait to come back next year.”
Susie Brodeur brought their two kids, Elizabeth and David Jr., to help lead the race.
The event honors Brodeur, an Auburn native and military hero who died in Afghanistan last year while serving with the Air Force. The money raised at the race will provide grants to Auburn High School students in academics, athletics and extracurricular activities.
In addition to his wife and children, Brodeur leaves behind his parents Larry and Joyce Brodeur, his brother Todd, his sister Amanda, aunts, uncles and cousins, who attended the event on Sunday.
“It’s a wonderful turnout and a great tribute to Dave,” Larry said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the foundation. It warms our heart that they’ve taken up this cause to honor his memory.”
Brodeur, a 1994 graduate of Auburn High School, died April 27, 2011, in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the age of 34. Brodeur was an experienced F-16 pilot and instructor with deployments to Iraq where he flew combat missions during the initial days and months of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal and Combat Action Medal, among others.
The Major David Brodeur Memorial Foundation formed after Brodeur passed in April 2011. Tim Morse, the foundation’s president, said the group reached its goal, as more people registered this year than the inaugural race in 2011.
“It just proves that people are very, very supportive of what we’re trying to do at the foundation, and people in this town love David,” Morse said.
There was a post-race meal catered by Outback Steakhouse and beer was provided by Harpoon Brewery for all registered runners who were 21 or older.
Rick Sobey took home first place with a 5K time of 17:37. Coming in second and third was John Donovan (18:04) and Dan Ford (18:43). A standout performance was from 12-year-old Joseph Walsh (19:10).
The top female was 14-year-old speedster Sarah Cavanaugh with a time of 20:01. Coming in second and third was Kaitlynn Hummerton (20:57) and Lizzy Anusauskas (21:14), who is 13. Another standout time came from 14-year-old Andrea Bolduc (21:43).
Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, Daily Voice reporter Rick Sobey, author of this story, was the first-place winner of the event's race.