State Representative Jim Kelcourse (R)
Gold Star Family
Tough Ruck ’17, ’18, ‘19
The Amesbury legislator hiked 26.2 miles through Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord in 2017 and 2018 with a military-issue rucksack on his back filled with over 40 pounds of weight. As he has in the past, Kelcourse will be rucking in honor of fallen soldiers — 1st Lt. Derek Hines of Newburyport and Spc. Jordan Shay of Amesbury. But Kelcourse was forced to add a third name to his list this year.
His cousin Army Warrant Officer James Casadona, 28, was killed when his AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky in April 2018.Chief Warrant Officer Ryan Connolly, 37, also died in the crash. Both soldiers were assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Kelcourse said he now knows firsthand the level of service provided by the Military Friends Foundation. Kelcourse heard about his death two weeks before running the Tough Ruck last year.
“It’s times like that, that you realize how important the Military Friends Foundation is,” Kelcourse said. “I always knew they provided assistance to people who were hit with a hardship as a result of their loved one’s service. But you realize more so when such a tragedy strikes your family.”