Brian Bill was what Norwich University officials call a stand out student.
"Brian is the kind of student who exemplifies the best of Norwich, without a doubt," said the University's Daphne Larkin.
A triathlete and engineering major during his days at Norwich, Bill's parents said he always thrived when challenged. "He took the electrical engineering major because it was the hardest major, so he said that's what I'll do. That was the kind of thing brian would do, take the hardest challenge and succeed in it," said his mother, Pat Parry.
Bill graduated in 2001 and went on to become a U.S. Navy SEAL. He died in August 2011 when a chinook helicopter he and dozens of other service members were traveling in was shot down in Afghanistan. Since then his parents have dedicated themselves to their son's legacy. "We want to honor Brian and he would have loved every minute of this," Pat Parry said.
Bill loved competing, so his parents know he would have loved an inaugural event held at the University Sunday -- a competition and fundraiser for the a scholarship in their son's name. It goes to a child of a special forces member or a cadet aiming for a career in special forces.
"Brian inspired us with the things he did and the commitments he made and we would like to see that perpetuated," said Michael Parry, Bill's stepfather.
Though the event begins and ends inside the armory, there were dozens of outdoor challenges along the 5.5 mile course.
"The event was great, a little cold but running kept us warm," said Aaron Schott, a Norwich freshman.
"I thought it was great. It was really challenging and very eventful, so I liked it," said Payton Warner, a Norwich freshman.
Military and civilian competitors came from around the country to compete alongside the cadets. Their entry fees help fund the scholarship. "It has already raised over $100,000, Larkin said. "This was the semester that it has benefited a student."
Right now the scholarship covers about the cost of fees and text books, but Bill's parents hope that one day it will raise millions and they can establish a Brian Bill Scholar at Norwich.
"Norwich was a turning point in his life. He joined the Corps of Cadets and from then on he just dedicated himself to these kinds of events -- physical achievements and pushing the limits," Michael Parry said.
The Parrys said it's their way of giving back to the school that helped their son become an American hero.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
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Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
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Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
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Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
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