Centre Fire Chief Kevin Ware said he felt privileged to be a part of the First Annual Run 4 Val event held on a recent weekend in Centre City Park.
In addition to the run, the event included a tribute to Courtney a motorcycle ride in his memory and others activities as well. .
“I love it,” said Ware. “This is great. Did you see how many folks are running? It will do nothing but go up. Next year we will have over 200 running.”
“I think Val would be after this,” said Ware. “He would be humble about it too. Hee would tell you ‘not to make a big fuss for me.’ But I know some folks that have really got their heart into this and we love Val. And that is what we want people to know. I hope he do him right and just looking at this, we have done him right!”
“I want to thank everybody for coming out to the First Annual Run For Val,” said Eva Garner, one of the organizers of Val’s First Run. “This has been so exciting. I think we have raised a lot of money for a scholarship. I think Val would be very pleased.”
As part of the program, a short video containing testimonies from local citizens memorialized Courtney’s.
“Val was extraordinary,” said Centre Mayor Tony Wilkie.
“He was always there in a friendly, timely fashion for youngsters. Every morning, he would greet youngsters as well as their parents (at the school crosswalk).”
“Val would take anybody under his wing and give them advice, young people especially,” said Wilkie. “He tried to give them the right guidance.”
On this video, Centre Police Chief Kirk Blankenship shared an encounter he had with Courtney a number of years ago on prom night. Worried about getting his date home on time, Chief Blankenship admitted, he was speeding when he noticed Val not too far away.
“He said ‘Kirk, you know better than that!” Blankenship recalled.
Blankenship said Chief Courtney sat him down in the car and gave him a “firm” talk. Afterward, Chief Courtney shook his hand. And that is one of Chief Blankenship’s inspirations for enterting the law enforcement field.
“Val often donated time, energy money into helping people reach the goals they had set for themselves,” said Garner.
Caleb Courtney, Val’s nephew, expressed his appreciation for the first Val’s Run.
“I just want to thank everybody for coming out today,” said Courtney. “It is an honor to see how many people are out supporting what Val believe in. He cared for people and I am just proud to see the amount of support he has here today.”
Race Director Kurt Duryea thanked everyone who had a hand in making the event a success.
“Give those volunteers and sponsors a hand,” said Duryea. “We couldn’t do it without any of them.”
He also mentioned some other area races coming up including one in Piedmont on May 10 and also the Anniston and Gadsden Grand Prixs.
“Both do such a phenomeol job in keeping people fit and they have races throughout the year,” said Duryea.