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Fallen Marine honored in balloon release and 5k run

By Dora Miller, Reporter, dmiller@ktxs.com
Published On: Jan 18 2014 07:14:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 20 2014 08:20:03 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Saturday marked one year since Marine Keith Keller died following a horrific car accident on 1-20.

Keller is survived by his two children and wife, who organized a 5K run Saturday morning in Keller's honor.

"My husband dedicated 17 years of his life to our country and any of our fallen soldiers have dedicated so much and given back so much and I think that we need to remember them and give back to their families," Nicole Keller, Keith's widow, said.

She, Keith's fellow marines and a company called Crossfit 325 helped organize the 5K run and other workouts.

Although the workouts were tough, Jonathan Camarillo, Keith's commanding officer, said he had to dig deep into himself to find the strength to complete them: Just like Keith always did.

"It was a mental test and you think about Keith Keller and you think about the things he went through after the accident trying to stay alive," Camarillo said. "You thought about that experience and that helps you get through the event."

During the event, Nicole said there was a clear sense of camaraderie. She said she was sure Keith was watching over them.

"When we all came together in prayer for my husband, then to send off the balloons all for him, I just thought, there's our sign to him that he's always in our hearts and I know he's probably here with us today too," Nicole said.

Nicole plans to hold the event every year, but next year the event will focus on all fallen soldiers.

Her efforts will help support the Travis Manion Foundation and Snowball Express. Both organizations assist service members and families who have lost loved ones during their service.