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Color run remembers instructor��s impact

In honor of a dearly missed mentor and friend, Suffolk residents can support a good cause by joining an upcoming fun run filled with a rush of colors.

Lakeland High School’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps will host a Halloween-themed 5K Color Run at Sleepy Hole Park this Saturday. Registration will be open at 11 a.m., and runners will start at noon.

Runners will navigate a path of scarecrows, fake spiderwebs and other festive decorations as JROTC volunteers — dressed in black and orange — throw powder and brightly-colored paint. Water and snacks will be provided, and prizes will be awarded to the top runners.

Lakeland High School AFJROTC cadet Alana Moore pitched the idea for a color run after previous, ordinary 5K runs for AFJROTC at her school had small turnouts. Friends and family have told her how much fun they’ve had doing colors runs instead, Moore said.

“I thought it would be more appealing to people,” said the 16-year-old Lakeland High School junior.

The race will be held in memory of Master Sgt. Selwyn Curtis, a U.S. Air Force veteran who passed away from cancer in August 2016 at age 64. Curtis had been an Air Force JROTC instructor at Lakeland High School since 2004 and impacted upwards of 1,000 cadets at the school, according to Maj. Dale Blake, senior aerospace science instructor.

“He meant a lot to the students,” Blake said. “A lot of the alumni made an effort to come back to his memorial service and pay their respects.”

Moore said Curtis always pushed cadets to do their best. She also described him as an outgoing person that could make people laugh with ease.

The proceeds will benefit the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers and Troopers Motorcycle Club, of which Curtis was a member. The organization promotes motorcycle safety and educates the public on the history of the all-black ninth and 10th United States cavalries formed in 1861.

Club members feed homeless, award scholarships for graduating high school seniors and ride their motorcycles in support of organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

In addition to supporting an organization he loved, Moore said the bright colors on Saturday will be a happy reminder of Curtis.

“He was a very bright person, and I thought that’s where I could connect the two of them,” she said.

The cost is $20 for the public and $15 for Hampton Roads students. Go online at lhs.spsk12.net for more information.