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Runners take to the streets in memory of Plymouth's fallen heroes

Chris Hodges of Thornton carried a memorial flag for SPC Marc Decoteau on Sunday as he took part in the Bobcat Memorial 5K, which honors the memory of Decouteau, and fellow Plymouth Regional High School alumni CPT Doug DiCenzo and MSG Jared Van Aalst who all lost their lives while serving overseas. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 30, 2018
PLYMOUTH ¬– This past Sunday marked the ninth running of the Bobcat Memorial 5K, and approximately 100 people came out this year to honor the memory of three Plymouth Regional High School graduates who were killed in the line of duty and to help raise money for scholarships in their name at the school.

The alumni remembered through the event each year are MSG Jared Van Aalst (Class of 1993), CPT Doug DiCenzo (Class of 1995) and (Class of 2008) who lost their lives while serving the nation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, Chris Hodges of Thornton brought along a special flag to honoring SPC Descouteau, who died on Jan. 29, 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. The flag bears the words "Honor and Remember" and besides Descouteau's name and the date of his death, it also features a Gold Star, an Eternal Flame and a folded American flag in the center.

"His parents, Mark and Nancy, couldn't be here today so I brought their flag to carry along with me for the 5K," said Hodges.

As the runners and walkers prepared for the start of the trek that would lead them over the DiCenzo Bridge, through downtown Plymouth and back to the high school, organizer Denise McGlone, the PRHS OSSIPEE club leader and health educator, thanked all for participating.

"This is such an amazing event in memory of Marc and Doug and Jared. Thank you all for coming out today," she said before introducing seven-year-old Serena and her five-year-old sister Sylvie of Plymouth who then led the crowd in the singing of the National Anthem.

McGlone said many people helped make the day possible. Among them were students from the OSSIPEE club, the National Honor Society, local scouting groups and area businesses. Scholarships this year will once again be awarded to PRHS seniors who will be heading off to join the military after graduation in June.

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