5-K committee awards scholarships

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 7, 2008

Jeremy Fliehman is a veteran. He spent 7 years and 8 months in the U.S. Air Force. His time in service included two years in the Middle East after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Susan Campigotto-Geer’s husband, Ron Geer, spent 24 years in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. He died in 2001 of service-related disability.

Both are now students at Ohio University Southern and both will get a year’s tuition paid for them compliments of the Veteran’s Memorial 5-K Race Committee.

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Campigotto-Geer a health care administration major, and Fliehman, a nursing student, have been selected as this year’s recipients for the Frank McCown Veterans Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is named in honor of the late Frank McCown, a member of the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade Committee and a tireless supporter of patriotic and veterans causes. Two are awarded each year to either a veteran or a dependent of a veteran attending OUS.

Campgotto-Geer said the emotions she experienced on winning the scholarship are “indescribable” and was impressed with how much the race committee cared about the community.

“I was stunned at the amount,” she said. “Normally, you hope you get a couple hundred dollars but when I discovered the amount, I was stunned.”

Fliehman, a 1999 Rock Hill High School graduate, earned 14 honors during his years of service, among them, the Outstanding Unit with Valor, the Expeditionary Local War on Terrorism and two Good Conduct Medals. He was even assigned to the security unit that guarded Air Force One.

“To be honored in front of everyone at a ceremony was really nice,” Fliehman said.

But race committee members said the honor was theirs.

“What he has given, we just want to be able to repay him for the sacrifice he has made and his family has made,” race committee member Mike Haas said.

The race that precedes the parade each year is sponsored by St. Mary’s Medical Center, Ironton Physical Therapy, Liebert Corp., Bob Linn Sporting Goods, The Ironton Tribune, Ohio University Southern, Bartram and Son Grocery Store and Joseph Leith, M.D.,

Committee member Dave Swartzwelder said 252 people signed up to participate in the race this year. While some of those were no-shows on the day of the race, 242 finished it.

This is the third year the race committee has awarded scholarships. The race committee also donates money to Boy Scout Troop 106. That group helps clean up after the parade each year.