Sgt. Joshua D. Desforges was 23 years old when he was killed in Iraq in 2010.
A 2004 graduate of Ludlow High School, he's remembered through a memorial site behind the school, and events like the upcoming Walk/Run Challenge is to fund the scholarship in his name.
But most notably, it's the love from his family and friends that keeps Joshua's spirit alive and this week the Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad was honored to help them keep that spirit going.
"Josh Desforges is the only member of the military who served in Iraq and was killed from here in Ludlow, and that has a special meaning to me, seeing as I served in Iraq."
Which is why Eric Segundo, the veteran service officer for the town of Ludlow, knew that Joshua's mother Arlene would be a perfect nomination for the Lia Auto Group Surprise Squad.
"The selfless service. She's sacrificed so much, but even so she continues to give back to the community in honor of her son. It's just amazing."
Honoring her son’s memory through a scholarship fund and countless yearly events.
Last week, Western Mass News had Arlene on Better Western Mass to highlight the 5k Walk and Run Challenge being held this Saturday April 29. A fundraiser to benefit Joshua's scholarship fund.
"To date, we've given out 70k and 10k a year, and it's just a way for kids so they don't have to be going to college, but to pursue a life’s passion as Josh was doing."
So we went to Paul Baird Middle School, where Arlene was a special education teacher to do our own part in donating to Joshua's scholarship fund.
Our own Brittany Murphy is taking the challenge head on this Saturday herself in Joshua's honor.
"When you see all those people run and walk in honor of your so-- It's amazing, he'd love it. He'd be leading the pack."
Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.