Gary Burns is a name many people now associate with one of Frisco’s most popular events. The Annual Fun Run and 5K Race benefits the Frisco Education Foundation and helps fund the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship, as well as other Foundation projects.
This year, Race Day registration begins at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 29 at Toyota Stadium. The one-mile walk/fun run kicks off at 8 a.m. and the 5K run begins at 8:30 a.m. The entry fee for adults is $35 and $25 for students and children.
View race results here.
Amid the fun, the run and the festivities, it is important to pause a moment and remember Gary Burns was a real person. He was a firefighter. He was a businessman. He was a husband and father.
Gary Burns’ daughters were still young when he lost his battle with cancer. Now, both work for Frisco ISD – one a teacher, the other a nurse.
In all the high energy and team camaraderie of the Gary Burns Fun Run, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget to share memories of the man who inspired the race.
Frisco ISD students who have been recipients of the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship through the Frisco Education Foundation are very much aware of his legacy. They will never forget Gary Burns.
Bailey, a Wakeland High School graduate and nursing student at the University of Arkansas, can relate to the Burns' family story.
“My dad was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma in my junior year of high school. He passed away the summer before my sophomore year of college. This was a huge part of why the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship means so much to my family,” Bailey said.
Without the scholarship, she says she could not have met all her college expenses.
Gary Burns was part of a small group of Frisco leaders who helped establish Frisco Family Services. He cared deeply for families in need.
With the help of the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship, Angela, a Heritage High School Class of 2013 graduate, has studied internationally and led groups concerning humanitarian issues. She graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in science and is preparing to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
“In addition to being a general financial support, the message and purpose of giving back to the community stuck with me throughout my college years and guided me greatly in developing my personal goals,” Angela said.
Ryan attended Wakeland High School and knew Gary Burns as a youngster. His family knew what Gary Burns stood for and how he gave back to the community. Ryan, a graduate student at St. Ambrose University, is also a member of the St. Ambrose coaching staff.
“It was a special moment and honor when my name was called as recipient of the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship,” he said.
Ryan always wanted to be a football coach. The legacy of Gary Burns allowed him to see that dream come true. Now Ryan will influence the lives of young athletes and students the way Gary Burns influenced the lives of young Frisco students like Ryan.
Amanda, also a Wakeland High School graduate, is one of five children. The Gary Burns scholarship empowered her to attend the University of Oklahoma without causing her family a financial struggle. She too is studying nursing and hopes to one day give back to the Frisco Education Foundation “so I can help someone like myself,” she said.
Jeong Eun graduated from Liberty High School in 2013. Her family moved to the United States from Paraguay. The family struggled socially and financially as they adjusted to life in the United States. The Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship relieved a huge portion of her family’s financial burden.
“I would never have dreamt of attending the University of Texas at Austin for two years and immediately matriculating into the College of Pharmacy,” she said.
Like Gary Burns, Jeong Eun is heavily involved in church and volunteer activities. She is also involved in research. The lab where she is currently working deals with cancer research.
“I am able to stand where I am due to all the support I have received through this scholarship,” she said, adding that she has been given the key to advance her knowledge and impact the community she lives in.
Gary Burns could not have asked more of any of these recipients of the Gary Burns Memorial Scholarship than to give back to their community – and they’ve delivered.
So whether you are walking or running in the Gary Burns Fun Run this year or just cheering someone on, take a moment to remember the man and his legacy.
The Frisco Education Foundation is a 501©(3) organization and to date it has awarded approximately $4.2 million in scholarships to FISD graduates and $550,000 in educator grants to support innovative classroom ideas. Baylor Scott & White Medical Center is this year’s presenting sponsor of the Fun Run. Tom Thumb has supported the race for 17 years, since its inception. Learn more about the Foundation at www.friscoeducationfoundation.org.