MILLBURY - As each June passes after that tragic one in 2010, Robin Arquette hopes more good memories will start to outweigh the bad.
Arquette, who lost her brother, his wife and her nephew in the June 5, 2010 tornado, is in her second year of organizing a run/walk to honor the Walters family.
This year, the first scholarship winner, Amber Gonzales, will be recognized at the June 9 event that starts at the Millbury Fire Station. The hope is to raise enough money to endow a full-tuition scholarship at Owens Community College.
The event was started by Arquette last year to honor her brother, Ryan Walters, and his wife, Mary, by creating a scholarship in their interests: information systems or early childhood education. Their son, Hayden, who was 4, also died in the tornado as it swept through Lake Township, killing four other people. Daughter Maddie, who was 7, survived and now lives with Mary's sister, who has two younger daughters.
Through the grief, Arquette became aware of something more.
"I saw such an enormous response from the community helping with the cleanup, that started me thinking about what I could do to create a positive way to give back," said Arquette, who lives in Streetsboro. "It just feels really good to give back to your community especially when they've been so supportive and wonderful through this whole tragedy."
The scholarship is also about giving back. The application question was "How will you utilize your degree to help give back to the community?"
Maddie, who will be at the race, designed the event shirts. There's a drawing of her, her mom and dad and brother. It's all on a background of blue - Hayden's favorite color.
"You should see her play soccer, even after all those broken bones (from the tornado). Of course, I'm biased," Arquette said. "She's doing great in school, she plays soccer, she's taking piano lessons. She's amazing and she's truly an inspiration."
Arquette's family has experienced loss after loss since 2009 when her dad, Bob, died. His wish for his son, Ryan, was for him to get his bachelor's degree. And he would have received it in November 2010 from Spring Arbor College.
The tornado killed Mary and Hayden as the family was sleeping in their Main Street home; Ryan died a week later. The next year, Arquette's mom, Barbara, died.
"You can't control certain things that happen, but what you can do is making something positive for somebody else. That's what I saw with the community when all this happened," Arquette said. "You never forget the people you love, but you do what you do to help."
Last year, the memorial run raised $7,000. This year, organizers hope to surpass 2011's total and raise $10,000, said organizer Mark Beck of Northwood.
"We were really pleased with the turnout and support we received last year," he said. "It was really kind of nice for everybody to work together and really for the Walters family in particular. It seemed to help them in trying to deal with the loss they experienced."
(Staff Writer Jordan Cravens contributed to this article.)
MILLBURY - The Walters' Family 5K Run/Walk to benefit a scholarship fund in memory of a family killed in the 2010 tornado will be held June 9 at 9 a.m. at the Millbury Fire Station, 1911 Ayers Road.
The entry fee is $15 for pre-registration and no shirt, and $20 pre-registration with shirt, postmarked by Wednesday.
Race day registration is $20.
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m.
Mail entry forms to: Walters Family 5K, c/o Calvary Lutheran Church,1930 Bradner Road, Northwood, Ohio 43619. Make checks payable to: Ryan, Mary and Hayden Walters Scholarship Fund. Donations can be also sent to the church.
Age groups are male/female 10 and under, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54,55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70 and older.
There will be awards and door prizes.
The Walters Scholarship is available for students enrolled in the early childhood education, or the information systems programs at Owens Community College.
Entry forms are available at Second Sole and Calvary Lutheran Church or on race day at the Ayers Road fire station.