Annual 5k keeps fallen Marine’s memory alive in Coventry

(Julianne Peixoto/WPRI)

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) – Twelve years after her death, a local Marine’s memory lives on as runners raised money for a scholarship fund in her name.

Lance Corporal Holly Charette was killed in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2005, when her truck was attacked by a suicide bomber. The attack also killed several other female Marines.

The annual Holly’s 5k Spirit Run is in its eighth year; the event raises money for the scholarship fund that her family started in her name and this year runners hit the track at Coventry High School.

“Because Holly always paid it forward and tried to help people, and she loved school, we wanted to keep her memory alive and pay it forward like she did,” her mother, Regina Roberts, said Saturday.

“I try not to think about that,” Roberts said when asked about the length of time that’s passed since then. “It just reminds me how long she’s been gone.”

One man running Saturday was 1st Sgt. Jose Loureiro, a 22-year veteran of the Marine Corps. He was assigned to break the news of Holly’s death to her family back in 2005.

He ran into Charette’s parents years later at a Memorial Day event in Rhode Island and instantly recognized them.

“Oh you never forget, you never forget. That’s something you never forget. You don’t forget the faces, ever,” he said.

Loureiro then decided to participate in the Holly’s Spirit Run this year.

“I feel like I’ll be a part of them forever, yeah,” he said. “And I always have her picture on my desk, and I’ll remember. I’ll remember her forever.”

Nearly two dozen students from Coventry High School and Cranston East, both of which Charette attended, have received scholarship money from the fund.