Photos: Runners brave the rain for second annual Andrew’s ‘Top Gun’ memorial run

Through rain and at times, hail, determined runners took to a runway in Calverton Saturday in honor of a Boy Scout who once dreamed of soaring through the skies.

The second annual Andrew’s Top Gun 5K was held in honor of Andrew McMorris, who was killed by a drunk driver while hiking along the Greenbelt Trail in Manorville in September 2018.

“We see Andrew’s friends growing up around us, but Andrew is frozen in time at 12 and a half,” his mother, Alisa, said Sunday. “By bringing people together, what we’re finding is that our community remembers.”

The event was held on a runway at Enterprise Park in Calverton to honor Andrew’s passion for aviation: from a young age, he dreamed of piloting a 787 and after attending AeroCamp in July 2018, completed his first flight from MacArthur Airport in Islip to Hartford, Conn.

Saturday’s event also served as a remembrance for what would have been Andrew’s 17th birthday on March 30 and featured flyovers by aircraft from the Suffolk County Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard and a private plane towing a banner that read: “Fly High Andrew. Don’t drink and drive.”

About 852 runners competed in the 5K, with 19-year-old Jason Green of Shelter Island finishing first overall in 15 minutes, 30 seconds. Caroline D’Andrea, 15, of Shoreham, was the top female finisher with a time of 21:27.

The more than $30,000 raised from this year’s race will benefit the Andrew McMorris Foundation and the Suffolk County Council of Boy Scouts of America. 

Each year, the McMorris foundation provides grants for students to attend AeroCamp at Mid Island Flight School. The grant is among the foundation’s many charitable programs, which also include Eagle Scout grants and dozens of scholarships for graduating seniors across Long Island who demonstrate a commitment to their communities.

One highlight of Saturday’s race for Andrew’s father, John, was seeing past scholarship recipients coming out to support the foundation. “We ask them to become stewards of our mission, to carry on his message, his spirit, life and message of ‘Do not drink and drive,'” Mr. McMorris said. “It’s important for us to keep on passing that message forward.”

The McMorrises said they are grateful for the support, especially as they approach the five-year anniversary of Andrew’s death. In addition to events that give back to the community, the family continues to advocate for stricter laws surrounding drinking and driving and are at work on legislation that they one day hope will become Andrew’s Law.

“People sometimes say that time heals all wounds. It really doesn’t — but doing something like this 5K, putting [the annual gala] together, giving scholarships and giving back to our community is part of the healing process,” Mr. McMorris said. “It really warms our hearts.”

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