SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Men and women from all over western Massachusetts paid tribute to a fallen soldier from Springfield on Sunday.
Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan was a Springfield native who was killed in a terror attack in Tennessee back in 2015.
This annual walk at Nathan Bill’s Bar and Grill in Springfield is one of the many ways his family keeps his memory alive.
Last year, hundreds raced to honor this local fallen hero. This year, the Sullivan family is hopeful that even more people will be participating.
Joe Sullivan told 22News, “It means a lot, because they’re still showing a lot of love and respect for my brother. They’re still coming out strong.”
Sullivan was fatally shot trying to save other wounded marines during an ISIS inspired attack on military facilities in Chattanooga.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno told 22News that the community should follow his example.
He said, “It’s very special as everybody comes together as one, not only in remembrance, but more importantly to continue the legacy of community service that Gunnery Sergeant Tommy Sullivan put forth.”
Sullivan’s five mile remembrance race brought out walkers, runners, and volunteers of all ages, all of whom said that participating in this event is just the right thing to do as members of the community Sullivan grew up in.
Allan Tracy told 22News, “We’re just here to support the military and the memory of Gunnery Sgt. Sullivan. We want to pay our respects to him, and he’s one of our fallen heroes.”
Sullivan was a decorated soldier who was posthumously awarded a purple heart, Springfield’s Medal of Valor, the Lt. Frank Murphy Medal of Valor and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.
Even after his death, Sullivan continues to help those in need, as proceeds from his walk benefit a scholarship fund in his name as well as the Galaxy Community Council for Westover Marines.
Mayor Sarno said that another ceremony to continue honoring Sullivan and his family will happen later this fall.
This year’s event was emceed by 22News anchor Barry Kriger.