Third annual 5K honors the 18th birthday of the late Andrew McMorris

The family of a young person who died too young is gearing up for a celebration of his life and legacy on what would have been his 18th birthday.

The Andrew McMorris Foundation and the Suffolk County Council of Boy Scouts will be hosting the third annual Andrew’s Top Gun Run 5K on March 30 on the runway at Enterprise Park in Calverton marking the special milestone.

On-site registration opens at 7:30 a.m. The fun run, open to children 12 and under, starts at 8:30 a.m., while the 5k starts at 9 a.m.

Alisa McMorris, Andrew’s mother, said this year has been extremely emotional for the whole family.

“It’s his 18th birthday and it’s also the year that he would be graduating high school so there’s many milestones with his friends and family that he’s missing,” Ms. McMorris said. “So, what we are trying to do is mark that 18th birthday with as many people as possible so that we can carry his legacy forward and do good things in his name.”

Andrew McMorris, a Boy Scout with Troop 161, was killed at 12 years old by a drunk driver while hiking the Greenbelt Trail in Manorville in September 2018. Six months later, his family formed The Andrew McMorris Foundation to keep his legacy alive through fundraising, scholarships, and advocacy.

This year’s event has been planned with special moments to to celebrate Andrew.

East Moriches Aerial Advertising will do a flyover at 10:25 a.m., which is the time that Andrew was born. And that’s just the beginning of the activities planned for the day, according to Ms. McMorris.

(Courtesy photo)

“The list of volunteers and [donors] is heartwarming,” Ms. McMorris said. “It goes on for miles.”

Andrew’s favorite foods — doughnuts, hamburgers and hotdogs — will be on the runway as part of the celebration as well, Ms. McMorris said. Area businesses including McNulty’s Ice Cream, Glenn Wayne Bakery, Applebee’s, the Greek Island Diner, Wildcat Bagel Deli, Starbucks and Stop & Shop will contribute.

The McMorris family will privately open a time capsule they had made when Andrew was born and then share the contents on social media.

Since the organization’s first 5k in 2021, over 1,000 participants have run in Andrew’s name on the runway at EPCAL.

Shoreham-Wading River school cheerleaders will be present to support the racers, while the school’s Vocal Express a capella group will perform the national anthem.

Suffolk County Sheriff’s department will also be present at the event. The Boy Scouts will host pinewood derby and archery events as well as provide first aid.

“The Andrew McMorris Foundation is grateful to The Boy Scouts of Suffolk County for their commitment to honoring Andrew,” Ms. McMorris said.

Andrew‘s grandparents donated this year’s challenge coin, which every participant will receive. The front of the coin has a photo of Andrew with a motto found on his 7th grade journal: “Never Waste a Moment.” The back includes this year’s 5k logo. The winner’s lanyard was also designed with Andrew’s 18th in mind: “If you drink, don’t drive. Celebrating Andrew’s 18th Birthday in Heaven.”

The foundation is also working with Shoreham-Wading River High School to develop an outdoor area in his memory to be enjoyed by everyone in the school. Ms. McMorris said the goal is to have the area ready by graduation this year.

“We are really hoping to allow other students to be impacted by Andrew for years to come,” Ms. McMorris said, “so that when his class graduates, there will always be a connection to the school and people can remember why and how he lost his life so that this tragedy doesn’t have to get repeated.”