Saturday marked 10 years since the most difficult day of Crystal and Craig Hewitt’s lives. The couple’s son and daughter, Parker (5) and Haley (3), died that day in a car accident. The Hewitts have chosen to keep their two oldest children’s legacy alive through service to others. That tradition continued Saturday as more than 750 people gathered for the seventh annual Hewitt Foundation 5k.
The race takes place each year on the last Saturday in June, and this year fell on the 29th, the date Parker and Haley, as their parents put it, went to be with Jesus. The inaugural race in 2013 also happened on the 29th.
The 7th annual race also brought special guests. Around two dozen friends of Parker and Haley came to serve as official starters, blowing air horns to start the runners.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to start the race than having their good friends represent them,” Crystal Hewitt said. “It feels like yesterday, but then again like forever.”
Faith has been a central part of the Hewitts’ lives and their journey through difficult times, and before the race, Crystal Hewitt shared a Bible verse, Romans 12:1, with the crowd (the largest yet for the event), then explained why she chose that particular one.
“[God] is saying to keep on going in life with endurance and strength that comes from Him,” she said. “He is there to carry us through this race called life.”
Crystal Hewitt was badly injured in the wreck that day in 2009, and told she would not be able to have children again. Standing at the finish line Saturday, high fiving the runners as they finished, was living proof that miracles happen: the Hewitts’ daughter Ellington. Joining her as he finished the race was more proof: her younger brother, Emerson.
The event ended as it does every year, with a ceremony (this year a butterfly release) in memory of Parker, Haley, and all the others who have gone.
Proceeds from the race benefit the Hewitt Foundation, a nonprofit created by Craig and Crystal in memory of Parker and Haley. Its mission is to educate the general public about community service needs, encourage increased civic participation in meeting those needs, and promote policies designed to improve the lives of community members. More information is available at hewittfoundation.com.