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Gary Burns Fun Run Benefits Frisco Students (November, 2005)

Fun Run 2005The sixth Gary Burns Fun Run is estimated to have topped the $100,000 mark in funds raised for scholarships for Frisco ISD students and the Grants for Great Ideas program, according to K Jonas, director of Frisco Education Foundation.

The Saturday fun run was blessed with wonderful weather and excited runners ready to take advantage of the cool temperatures. The event is named after the late Assistant Fire Chief Gary Burns, and is the major fund raiser for Frisco Education Foundation. This year’s contributions almost double from the first year the fun run was held six years ago. Last year’s fun run generated just under $90,000, according to Jonas.

Who was Gary Burns some residents may ask? His name is on a street sign and the fun run has been a part of Frisco tradition for six years. Burns was one of those people who make communities special. He was a vital part of Frisco. He is remembered for his easygoing smile, his humor and the courage with which he faced cancer. Folks still talk about how his fellow firefighters and friends encouraged him by shaving their heads when he lost his hair to chemotherapy.

Burns was active in schools and sports and strong in his faith. He was the man in the blue Frisco Fire Department work shirt with a smile for visitors at Central Fire Station and a steady hand at the scene of a fire or accident, others remember him as the guy behind the counter at Snappy Jack convenience store and gas station. He was part of the fabric of Frisco at a time when people still knew most of their neighbors. When the first steps were taken to begin what is now called Frisco Family Services – he was there calling on everyone to pitch in - reaching out to the community. His death was a blow to many who were touched by his life. He had long supported helping kids from Frisco achieve their best.

This year with a bounce house, face painters, music and children running back and forth at Hall Office Park, title sponsor of the event, it was difficult to imagine that this is the sixth fun run and that Burns has been gone for so many years.

Burns’ daughter Ashley has participated in the run. She was also awarded the Gary Burns Scholarship by FEF. She recently graduated from the University of North Texas and is currently employed by FISD. Ashley Burns notes that the “Fun Run makes my family’s loss much easier because the Frisco community is so supportive of keeping my dad’s memory alive.” She also said “Seeing that the money raised in his name from the Fun Run each year provides priceless opportunities for the young people of Frisco is very inspiring. It definitely encourages me to want to make a difference in others’ lives, but I know that I have some big shoes to fill!”

Dr. Rick Reedy, FISD Superintendent, traditionally challenges faculty and staff to beat his time. This year he was busy keeping up with who beat his time – noting that his old friend and retired teacher, Latrelle Thompson, beat him. Local businessmen Kirby Chandler and Chuck Quarles offered to make cash contributions to FEF for every FISD employee or teacher who beat Dr. Reedy’s time. Male runners are subject to a 10 second per year difference handicap rule. Dr. Reedy provides a luncheon from La Hacienda Restaurant for those staff who beat his running time.

The event sponsors, in addition to Title Sponsor Hall Office Park, were the Run’s Presenting Sponsors the Dallas Morning News, WFAA-Channel 8 and JACK FM, as well as many local and national sponsors. The certified 5-K run attracts runners from throughout the North Texas area. Less serious athletes are welcome to join in on the one-mile fun walk/run.

The family friendly event featured a bounce house, face painting, prizes and the famous Frisco Fire Clowns! Every year the run offers a great team-building exercise and organizations are urged to put teams together for the event. Several FISD faculty teams were represented Saturday. “We always want to emphasize the fun in this run. It is a great morning for the entire community. Entire families participate from moms and dads pushing strollers to grandparents. Many of our FISD teachers enjoy pitting their skills and speed against one another and FISD students are some of our biggest supporters,” said K. Jonas, director of the Frisco Education Foundation.

Proceeds from the run provide funds to Frisco seniors in the form of college scholarships as well as funding for the Grants for Great Ideas Program. This program allows Frisco teachers receiving grants to expand academic enrichment in the classroom. Scholarship winners must apply and be accepted based on need, merit, and teacher and community recommendations.

If you missed this year’s event, make sure you sign up next year. The fun run is always held in October and is fun for the whole family.