LETTER | KERRY DON ALEXANDER
On January 27, 2001, 10 members of the Oklahoma State University family died in a plane crash in Colorado. On April 21, 2007, the Oklahoma State University family came together to celebrate the lives of the 10 who perished by holding a memorial run on the OSU campus. The Remember The Ten Run has now become an annual tradition, held on the third Saturday of April each year. The 13th Annual Run is scheduled for April 20, 2019.
For most graduates, OSU is known for having a family atmosphere. You hear this from alumni, faculty, staff, coaches and prospective students. The loss of the 10 is one of the greatest tragedies the OSU family has known and impacted not only those affiliated with OSU, but a much larger family including all Oklahomans and others throughout the nation. Honoring their memory with a memorial run gives us an event to remember and to celebrate their lives.
The spark that created the event was when I read Bill Hancock’s incredible book, Riding with the Blue Moth, finishing it within days after receiving a copy from Bill at the All College Basketball Tournament in 2005. (Bill is the father of Will Hancock.) Bill, which for reasons best understood by reading the book, terms depression as the “Blue Moth.” Bill inspired Remember the Ten because one of the ways he dealt with his grief was through exercise and by moving forward, riding his bike from the Pacific to the Atlantic. If I understand the meaning of his book, one can never eliminate the grief that comes with loss but one can find ways to use the “Blue Moth” to learn life’s lessons and grow stronger.
While the purpose of the Run is to celebrate the lives of the 10 who perished in the crash, the event will also raise awareness about the “Blue Moth” that affects us when we experience loss, especially those who experience loss during their college years. As an OSU graduate who lost my father during my sophomore year in college, I found his book especially moving and was acutely aware of the importance of a support system when we experience loss during that special time when we are making the transition into our adult lives.
Gifts from corporate sponsors, individuals and registration fees from participants will be dedicated to putting on the race and will be directed to Oklahoma State University counseling services to provide grief support services for those who lose a loved one during their college years. The OSU Foundation, acting as our 501(c)(3) will secure and handle all monetary transactions. To date, $240,000 has been donated.
Additionally, last year we awarded the 7th annual Remember the Ten Scholarships to ten OSU Counseling students and the eighth annual Remember the Ten Scholarships will be announced during the award ceremony at this year’s Run. We hope that members of the OSU family, those touched by the lives of the 10 and both avid and recreational runners will find the event to be deeply meaningful and a time of celebration of those who we lost.
Kerry Don Alexander
OSU Class of 1986
Event Founder and Chair