OLATHE, Kan. - August 6 is a day one Olathe family will never forget.
On that date last year, their son, 21-year-old Army Sgt. Spencer Duncan, was one of 30 servicemen killed in Afghanistan in the single deadliest incident in the history of Operation Enduring Freedom.
This weekend, hundreds will honor him and all those who have served their country.
Spencer Duncan never wanted the spotlight on him. But on Saturday, his legacy will be front and center.
“He would be terribly embarrassed by what's happened. He would be the last person to ever want this kind of attention or recognition, but the first to do it for his fellow soldiers,” said his mother, Megan Duncan.
Saturday is the inaugural Make it Count 5K Run at Olathe South High School. It was created by Spencer’s parents, Megan and Dale Duncan.
Last August, they got an unexpected knock on their door. They learned Spencer had been killed when his helicopter was shot down by insurgents.
“This is everybody's grief,” said Megan Duncan. “This is the nation mourning true heroes, and the support has been nothing short of miraculous.”
Spencer’s parents say members of his old platoon still call and visit. And they say their son was passionate about America's freedom.
"As an American, I couldn't be more grateful,” said Megan Duncan. “I never understood on a personal level what the sacrifice has meant."
They created the Make it Count race to help honor Spencer and to help all veterans returning home from war. All of the proceeds will benefit groups that support veterans and their families.
"We had really small dreams,” Megan Duncan said. “We thought if we had more runners than volunteers we would be awesome."
Some runners will wear bracelets that read "Specialist Spencer C. Duncan, U.S. Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Killed in action 8-6-2011."
So far, more than 380 people have signed up for a race that came at a price -- the loss of Spencer Duncan.
"He just lived life on his own terms from the beginning,” said his mother. “He knew who he was all along.”
The race begins at 7:30 a.m., Saturday at Olathe South High School, 1640 E. 151st St.
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Kansas Neighborhood News