Marine Lance Cpl. Taylor B. Prazynski was killed in action May 9, 2005, while serving in Iraq, but his memory lives on in his hometown of Fairfield and around the globe.
And his legacy continues to touch countless lives and positively impact the community.
The 15th Annual LCPL Taylor Prazynski Memorial 5K Run/Walk/Roll is only one of the ways his friends and loved ones continue to honor and remember him. Backed by an outpouring of love and support, the 2019 event will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m. at the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields in Fairfield.
“It all came about with an idea from my sister, Ann, and we wanted to try to add money to the scholarship fund that was started by an anonymous citizen in Fairfield, so this is our 15th event,” said John Prazynski, Taylor’s father.
“So far, we have given 65 scholarships at Fairfield High School, and we’ve also helped the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields raise money for their legacy fund, which will keep the fields going beyond our generation. And, we’ve also supported a veteran charity called Blue Skies For The Good Guys And Gals Warrior Foundation.”
He said the very first year, the memorial event was held on Taylor’s 21st birthday, which is Nov. 12. Nov. 10 is the United States Marine Corps birthday, and Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day, and the event is held on the second weekend in November for those reasons.
John’s wife, Carol, Taylor’s brother Ryan, and John’s siblings – Ann, David and Dona, and their families, do a lot of the work behind the scenes to put on the event. Tara Stroud has also continued to serve as the event’s volunteer coordinator. The event was first held at Waterworks Park, before the inception of the Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Fields.
“When we started this 15 years ago, we didn’t think we would be doing this for 15 years, nor did we think that we would have the support from the community that we’ve had. It’s just been unbelievable,” Prazynski said.
Taylor Prazynski was a former student of Kim Nuxhall, and volunteered in the special-needs classrooms in high school. He graduated from Fairfield High School in 2003. That same year, he joined the Marines. The Joe Nuxhall Miracle League Field’s east field has also been named in his honor for his service to the special-needs community and to our country.
Prazynski said it’s heartwarming for the family that people continue to support the event each year, and to show their regard for Taylor and his service.
“It’s humbling to our family that people will still come and support what Taylor did. And also, it really takes our community to help us accomplish the goals that we try to accomplish to do these events,” he said. “We know we can’t do it alone, and we wouldn’t want to do it alone.”
About 300 participants and spectators are expected to turn out on Saturday morning, including veterans in wheelchairs and Miracle League families in strollers and wheelchairs. In addition to the event itself, there will be gift basket raffles and a collection of new, unwrapped toys, which will be donated to Toys for Tots for the Marine Corps.
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