Sept. 29, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — This year would have marked the 15th reunion of Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus Ryan Beaupre, the first Illinois soldier killed in action during the Operation Iraqi Freedom.
As a special tribute to Beaupre and all of the men and women who have served our country, the Illinois National Guard will fly in a Blackhawk helicopter to land in the practice field near Illinois Wesleyan University Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 11 a.m. The helicopter will remain in the field for three hours, and will be open to the public for viewing and photo opportunities. It will take off just before the 2 p.m. kick-off of the Homecoming game that will pit the Illinois Wesleyan Titans against North Park University.
Beaupre will also be honored with the annual Ryan Beaupre ’95 Memorial Scholarship Run/Walk, which will begin at 9 a.m. at Wilder Field (400 Titan Drive, Bloomington). Proceeds from the run go to support the scholarship for an Illinois Wesleyan student. Immediately before the run will be the annual Kids Fun Run, which also pays tribute to Beaupre.
“Ryan’s dream was to be a pilot,” said Jim Mullins, a 2003 Illinois Wesleyan graduate and chairperson of the run, who noted Beaupre was a captain in the Marines. “He was a helicopter pilot and flew a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter,” said Mullins.
Mullins, who has been on the run committee for the past four years, said he did not know Beaupre, but has learned of him through his friends and family. “While at Illinois Wesleyan, Ryan was known as a leader on the athletic field, in his fraternity, in the classroom, and mentoring peers at the Hart Career Center,” said Mullins, who also noted Beaupre was a leader in all aspects of his life. “Ever since Ryan’s death in 2003, Illinois Wesleyan University, Ryan’s friends, family and the local community have continued to pay tribute to Ryan by holding the Ryan Beaupre ’95 Memorial Scholarship Run/Walk in his honor with a portion of the proceeds going to a scholarship in Ryan’s name.”
For additional information, go to the Titan Pride website at www.titanpride.org, or call the Alumni Office at (309) 556-3251.
Contact: Rachel Hatch, (309) 556-3960