the Heroes to Hero
Memorial Scholarship 5K Run
The Heroes to Hero 5-K Run/Walk was first run October 26, 2002. The event was organized in July 2002 by one of the brother firefighters from Gloucester City Fire dept., a Gloucester City Police Officer and a local civic leader. The three avid runners decided to remember and honor the lives and careers of three very brave men. On July 4, 2002, Fire Fighter Thomas Stewart III of the Gloucester City Fire Headquarter, Chief James Sylvester of the Mount Ephraim Volunteer Fire Dept. and Deputy Fire Marshal John West Sr. of the Camden County Fire Marshals Office all died tragically while attempting to save the lives of three trapped little girls in a house fire. Sadly, all six perished.
The three man committee quickly grew and hundreds of volunteers participated on race day! The help didn’t stop there. Along with The Gloucester City and Mt. Ephraim Fire Departments, many other area fire departments sent, and continue to send, crews to assist with aerial ladder displays along the race route. Volunteers from various civic organizations assist with food and beverage service, runner’s assistance, registration, flagman at corners and EMS first aid. The event is not just a 5K Run. It is a day of remembrance and celebration that begins with the race and continues throughout race day with an awards ceremony followed by an after party.
Participants meet in Gloucester City and are bussed to the start line in Mt. Ephraim. From there, participants run or walk back to Gloucester City where they left their vehicles. Our motto is “Retracing our Fallen Brothers Footsteps.” This is because our race has a very sentimental significance. Our race is a point-to-point race. It begins at the Mt. Ephraim Fire dept. and proceeds to finish at the Gloucester City Fire Dept. passing by the homes of our three fallen heroes and retracing the paths that each one took that night when they got up out of their beds to help someone that they had never even met before, and died in the act.
The Heroes to Hero 5K Run has grown to be one of the biggest, fastest, most complete 5K events in the tri-state area. Our event has drawn past Olympians, world class runners from Morocco, Russia, Kenya, Trinidad, and Canada. We have had participants from California, Georgia, Oregon and many “closer to home “states. Our record breaking times compare to some of the fastest 5K street races in the United States. [Men 14:08 Women 16:24]
Our event registered nearly 1000 participants and awards nearly $2,000 in cash and prizes! We have live music and DJ’s at different locations throughout the race and our food is outstanding!
The proceeds from the event annually provide three $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors from Gloucester City High School, Gloucester Catholic High School and Audubon High School who will be attending college or ad accredited school for Fire Science, Nursing, Law, Forensic Science or Communications. The remaining proceeds benefit the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial and educational assistance to the families of Camden County’s Police, Fire, and EMS personnel that have been killed or totally and permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Most importantly, however, is that all of the efforts mentioned above are for one reason…..
to remember the character and bravery of Tommy, Jimmy and John
…..three men who made an incredible impact on their profession as well as their community’s.
We must never forget the sacrifices they made!