Siblings Liam and Reece Kelly were passionate about running, riding in Liam’s Jeep and flying airplanes.
Tragically, the Westfield High School students were killed in an airplane accident, along with the pilot, Jerral Alan Long, Sept. 20, 2020, during an airshow at Glenndale Airport in Kokomo.
Liam, a senior, and Reece, a sophomore, were members of the WHS boys cross country team.
To honor their memory, their parents, Patrick and Kesha Kelly, created the Liam & Reece Kelly Foundation.
The family issued nine scholarships totaling $12,000 to WHS graduating seniors who competed in cross country and track and field. The money was raised through friends, family, community and businesses.
To help replenish the funds for future scholarships, the inaugural Liam and Reece Kelly Memorial Jeep Ride and 5K Run will be held at 8 a.m. June 19 at Monon Trail Elementary, 19400 Tomlinson Rd., Westfield.
“When this happened, the people who came out in support of us was unreal, and they continue to show up,” Kesha said. “The amount of people that are helping us put this whole event together is also amazing. Everyone is volunteering their time and talent. We’re lucky to be blessed with friends with a lot of talent. It’s a time to come together and celebrate the life of Liam and Reece, remember them. It showed people loved them and they love us. It the main thing that helps with our grieving process. Otherwise, it’s a pretty miserable existence, honestly.”
After the race, a Jeep caravan will drive past some of the boys’ favorite places, including WHS, Sheridan Airport and their home. The procession will end at Grace Church in Noblesville, the family’s church. Jeeps will line the finish chute of the 5K race.
“The family Jeeps will pull out first and all the other Jeeps will pass seven of the boys’ favorite places,” Kesha said.
Another stop on the Jeep ride will be MacGregor Park, where a trailhead marker has been placed as a memorial to the brothers, who loved running on the trail.
The idea came from Kyler Koning, a cross country teammate, and his father, Brian. After receiving approval from the Westfield Parks Board, Brian said he created a design.
“Kyler and I started a GoFundMe and raised the $3,700 needed to purchase the plaque,” Brian said.
One of Patrick Kelly’s college friends suggested creating the scholarship foundation.
“We set it up through the Westfield Booster Club because we could do it very quickly,” Kesha said. “Now, we are transitioning to our own foundation, but we’re still with the Booster Club right now.”
Members of the Flying Squirrels, a flight club for ages 14-18, the brothers aspired to attend the Air Force Academy and were posthumously awarded honorary nominations and appointments the U.S. Air Force Academy in October 2020.
“They were always together in Liam’s Jeep,” Kesha said. “They went to school and practice together.”
There will be a silent auction at the race. A merchandise table will be set with shirts, bracelets, stickers and window clings for sale.
For more, liamandreecekellymemorialscholarship.com/2021-jeep-ride-%26-5k-run. There is a Facebook page under Liam and Reece Kelly Foundation.