CASPER, Wyo — Over 200 runners and walkers turned out Saturday morning on the Fourth of July, 2020, for the Casper Chase 5k. Members of the Wyoming Patriot Guard Riders lined the bridge across the river from the Tate Pumphouse next to standing memorials of the 29 Wyoming soldiers fallen in the War on Terror. Proceeds from the event go to the Wyoming Fallen Heroes Scholarship Fund.
The family of Army Specialist Mitchell Daehling, who died overseas May 14, 2013, came to the event for the 3rd year in a row. Parents Kirk and Brenda and sister Kayla said these events were healing and help ensure the names of the fallen are not forgotten.
“He had a huge heart,” said Brenda, “If you were his friend he’d help you out with anything; didn’t matter what it was, even in the middle of the night.” His family said Mitchell was a daredevil who liked the outdoors, motorcycles, being a pilot, and playing video games with his sister Kayla. He also played guitar.
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Families of the fallen soldiers designate colleges or institutions which set up scholarships in the soldiers’ names. Applicants recognize the soldiers and what their legacy means to them. “This helps ensure that their names are not forgotten,” said Cheri Corbett, one of the Casper Chase’s organizers.
Mitchell Daehling’s scholarship is set up at Western Wyoming College in Rock Springs. He grew up with his family in Kemmerrer, Wyoming. He is also honored at events in Massachusetts, where he lived with his wife Samantha, and in Idaho, where friends honor him as “Mitch’s Mudders” in Tough Mudder endurance events.
This year, participants started anytime they chose between 8:00 and 10:00 am in order to facilitate social distancing.