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5K Saturday to honor slain ROTC cadet

The University of Virginia’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program plans to host a race on Saturday to honor a former ROTC cadet killed in Afghanistan.

The 10th annual R.J. Hess Memorial 5K Race honors 1st Lt. Robert Joseph Hess, an aviation officer from the Cavalier Battalion who was killed in combat in 2013. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit the Companion Animal Fund in Charlottesville.

“R.J. loved animals and volunteered at animal shelters during his time in college,” said Army ROTC cadet and one of the race organizers Lucas Bires in a UVa statement. “The Companion Animal Fund is a great organization that we have worked closely with for a number of years now. We believe it embodies the same kindness and compassion that R.J. had for animals.”

Hess’ parents, retired Col. Robert T. Hess Sr. and Laura Hess, selected the charity and are scheduled to attend the event.

The Army ROTC will also present the R.J. Hess Leadership Award and Scholarship to a commissioning second lieutenant, according to a statement.

The race is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday at UVa’s Carr’s Hill Field. Registration is available online, and runners can also register in person on the day of the event with cash or Venmo.

There will be prizes for first, second and third places in the men’s and women’s divisions. Drinks and food are to be available before and after the race.


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