Skip to main content

South Jordan Journal

Fun run colors 9/11 memorial in red, white and blue

Oct 04, 2017 03:38PM ● By Travis Barton

Kids take off at the beginning of the Color Me Miner fun run at Prospector Park. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

Memorials across the country paid tribute on Sept. 11 to those who were injured or lost their lives in 2001 to the devastating terrorist attacks in New York City, the pentagon and a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. 

The South Jordan community came together to not only pay homage to those affected by the tragedy 16 years ago, but to honor police, firefighters and the military. 

South Jordan Middle School gathered outside its doors for a Sunrise Salute on the morning of Sept. 11 while Bingham High School hosted a Color Me Miner fun run at Prospector Park, 10200 S. 2200 West. 

Michael Richards is a battalion chief with the South Jordan Fire Department. He participated in the fun run where he was pelted with powdered chalk. 

“All of these things are great,” he said of the memorials. “I think it’s just wonderful the way that people are saluting and honoring those 343 (firefighters) that died that day trying to save other people’s lives.” 

This was the third year for the Color Me Miner fun run and, according to event organizers, was its biggest yet. Approximately 300 people of all ages participated in the fun run compared to the 80 from last year. A 5K was held with a mini miner mile run for younger kids. 

Mascots from the Miracle Mascot Foundation also came by to interact with kids and first responders alike. 

Started by Bingham High PTSA member Sheri Mattle in 2015, the memorial grew this year with increased participation from surrounding schools including Jordan Ridge Elementary, Elk Meadows Elementary, Elk Ridge Middle School and South Jordan Middle School. 

“It was a great success,” said Kristine Hanks, a Jordan Ridge PTA member and event organizer. She said they ran out of shirts to give those signing up for the fun run. 

While runners were covered in colored chalk at the end of the run, Hanks said the most important aspect was honoring local police and fire. 

“Our biggest goal is to make sure our community supports our first responders and they know how much we love and appreciate them and their sacrifice they give every single day,” she said. 

The event also featured a memorial service with the South Jordan Middle School choir and Jenette Hougaard. Hougaard is the cousin of Brady Howell, one of two Utahns who died in the events of 9/11. 

Howell, 26, was working in naval intelligence at the Pentagon when the plane crashed into its southwestern side killing all seven people in his office. 

Hougaard spoke of the “inspirational” life Howell lived. How he was a student body president in high school, eagle scout, served an LDS mission and had received top security clearance just a few months prior to his death. Howell provided daily briefings to the chief of naval operations and the secretary of the navy. 

She talked about how the navy treated her aunt and uncle with the utmost care and respect and how they eventually became close friends with many naval officers. 

“Even though these navy officers didn’t know my aunt and uncle, they made a huge difference in their life,” Hougaard said. “We can help strangers along the way and we can help them through rough times as well as our family and our friends.” 

Todd Hougaard, Jordan Ridge PTA president, said during the service that while we may never forget the atrocities of 9/11, we must also remember the good things and how they can be applied now. 

“Things like 9/11 are easy to see and know that we need to help out. There’s people all around us that are going through their own personal 9/11 and we have a hard time seeing it sometimes,” Todd said. “We need to be the ones who bring the light of hope into the lives around us. Just like the freedom tower is a light of hope to the world, we can be the light of hope too.”