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‘Top Gun Run’ planned in memory of Andrew McMorris

The Andrew McMorris Foundation has picked a fitting location for a 5K run planned in honor of the late boy scout: the former Grumman runway at EPCAL in Calverton.

His parents, John and Alisa and sister Arianna, announced on Monday the run, which is planned for Saturday, March 26, 2022 at Grumman Memorial Park.

“We used to have family bike excursions here at EPCAL,” Mr. McMorris said, speaking in front of a fighter jet on display at the park. “Andrew loved these jet fighters and pretended when he biked down the old runways that he was actually taking off in an airplane.”

The 5K will kick off at 9 a.m. and the course will traverse over one of two runways on the 2,900-acre property formerly owned by the U.S. Navy to assemble, test and retrofit jets built by the Grumman Corp.

“We are so excited to be able to partner with the Andrew McMorris Foundation on this upcoming event, which will give runners the opportunity to run a flat and fast race,” said Lauren Vlachos, the chief operating officer of the Suffolk County Council of Boy Scouts of America.

The event will raise funds for scholarships and “scouterships,” which the McMorris family describes as grants for less fortunate scouts. It will also serve as a reminder of the dangers of drunk, imparied and distracted driving.

Andrew was killed after he was struck by a drunk driver while hiking in Manorville with his Boy Scout Troop in 2018. Several others scouts were injured in the crash and the family vowed to turn their “grief into action” by carrying on Andrew’s legacy and sharing his many passions for art, music and aviation.

“Andrew would be so thrilled that we are hosting a running event in his honor on a real runway,” his sister Arianna said.

The event is planned just days before what would have been a milestone: Andrew’s 16th birthday.

“I’m sure he would have been the first one in our family to get his driver’s license and his pilot’s license in the same year,” his mother, Alisa said.

The family plans to celebrate Andrew’s 16th year by launching Andrew’s ‘safe driver’ program in driver’s education classes. Details about the program are still being finalized.

Ms. McMorris said the family will continue working alongside Mothers Against Drunk Drivers New York and sharing their story “so no other family has to endure this kind of tragedy again,” she said.

Boy Scouts, supporters and local elected officials joined the family as they announced details of the 5K Monday, including state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), Suffolk County legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport), Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine and Riverhead Town Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, who commended the family for their fortitude.

“I am struck between the similarities of these mighty jets and the McMorris family: strong, determined and resolute in their mission,” Ms. Aguiar said, pledging the full support of the town for the event. “We’re running with you, we’re walking with you and we’ll be here for you.”

Organizers of the race are challenging businesses and corporations to participate to promote teamwork and camaraderie.

Registration is now open online for the event, which will also feature a Fun Run for children under 12 that starts at 8:30 a.m., refreshments for all finishers and a t-shirt for those who register by March 17.

More details and registration information can be found online at sccbsa.org.