200+ run in first annual Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Kenny Velez 5k, 1 mile walk race

Posted at 8:00 PM, Aug 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-12 20:00:01-04

A father, husband, friend and coworker gone but his legacy is still is living on.

On Saturday nearly 200 people laced up their shoes and hit the streets of Lorain for the first annual Trooper Kenny Velez 5k race and one-mile walk.

Velez, 48, died nearly one year agowhile running radar on I-90 near the Lakewood/Cleveland border.

The man who hit him, Joshua Gaspar, was in court earlier this week. A jury found him not guilty on aggravated vehicular charges in his death.

Despite the verdict, friends of Velez said today was about keeping his name alive and his legacy strong.

”It's not going to bring Kenny back. What's going to bring him back is what we're doing now. Celebrating his life as it was lived, not as it's gone," Velez's friend and race coordinator, Antonio Baez, said.

The race was organized by his closest friends and family as a way to give back to the community.

"It's amazing to see all the community support and that's something that's really getting my family through is all the support we've been receiving," Andria Velez said.

Andria, Velez's daughter, described the last 11 months as a roller coaster ride of emotions.

"It’s hard not having him here. But he created these amazing things coming together through his name. It’s hard but he’s still living his legacy on," she said.

AJ Torres, a friend and coworker of Velez for 20 years, said Velez's three children are like his own. He said he's proud of them for their dedication to the race and their willingness to give back. 

”So if it would have been me out there, before I retired, I know he'd be doing this for me. So I want to give them as much support as I can until the day I die because he deserves it," Torres said. 

The money raised from Saturday's race will go into a scholarship fund where two scholarships will be handed out next month.