GREENSBURG, Ind. - Nearly nine months after a plane crash claimed the lives of two friends and their wives, a church in Greensburg, Ind., got a big lift toward a new building Saturday. It comes from a group of children in memory of their parents, and it’s a story you’ll see only on RTV6 and TheIndyChannel.com.
More than one thousand runners and walkers came to St. Mary’s School in Greensburg with a purpose, and it was not just to finish a race.
“I’m running for Barb and Don Horan,” said one runner.
Don Horan and Stephen Butz were lifelong friends. Don was a pilot and businessman who donated generously to St. Mary’s.
The men and their wives, Barb and Denise, were returning in December from a weekend in Florida when the plane Horan was piloting crashed half a mile from the Greensburg Airport in fog and rain.
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All four were killed. Friends in another plane ahead of them were diverted to Columbus, Ind.
"(It was a) tough day for my husband and I,” family friend Kristy Lowe said. “We were on the plane that landed safely. We'd just gotten back from the trip with them."
Their deaths devastated their city, their church and their families. Six children were left without parents.
Federal investigators said Horan’s plane was working properly before the crash, had enough fuel and the landing gear was in the “down” position.
Months later, the church to which two families gave so much, gave back, and this is how: The money raised from the 5K was supposed to go toward education for the six children suddenly left without parents. But those six thought the money should go to a higher purpose.
The school that Don Horan donated more than a million dollars to build will also have a new church. That building fund grew on Saturday.
"It shows what kind of character those kids have,” Kristy Lowe said. “It shows their parents did something right."
And while the pain of that December day remains, something good happened on a sunny August day when a city showed its love for four parents and six children.
Race organizers think as many as 1,200 people paid between $15 and $20 to run and walk in Saturday’s 5K.