BY MARK WILSON Staff Writer
For Tolar residents Mic and JoAnn Stephens, this time of year always stirs emotional memories of their soldier son, who was lost in the war in Afghanistan — Army Green Beret and Sgt. 1st Class Riley Stephens. This year is notable also because it marks one decade since the career soldier — Mic’s son and JoAnn’s stepson — was killed in action by small-arms gunfire during a battle on Sept. 28, 2012, in Wardak Province, Afghanistan.
In 2013, the inaugural Riley Run was held to honor the memory of Stephens, who was a special forces medic. The Riley Run continued as an annual event for five years. In 2017, a ruck event was also added to the schedule, also in honor of Riley’s 19-plus years of military service. The largest number of entrants for the event was 180, in 2020, but it was not held last year.
This year, the event is dubbed Ruck Forward (www.ruckforward.com) — a 22K and 5K ruck/walk through Granbury, set for Saturday, Oct. 1 —once again honoring the memory of Riley Stephens.
The photo shows some of the participants in the 2019 Ruck Forward event.