5K to be held in memory of Petal teenager

5K to be held in memory of Petal teenager

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - A 5K will be held on Saturday at Lake Walker on Campus Shelby in memory of 16-year-old Omar Gonzalez.

Almost every day, stepfather Jim Abney sits across the magnolia tree in his front yard where his stepson's ashes are planted.

"It's been a really good place to come and sit and talk with Omar and just let out some tears," Abney said. "Hopefully it will be here a really long time. A really long time."

In May 2015, Gonzales went on a trip with a friend to Ship Island. His body was found three days after he went missing in the Mississippi Sound.

"I wish I could say it's been easy, but it's been anything but," Abney said. "It's definitely the hardest thing any of us have ever gone through."

Mother Tamara Abney did not sit down with WDAM 7, but she did write a letter.

"To lose a child is to lose the very heart and soul of you," Tamara Abney wrote. "Omar was a special child and the most selfless person I have ever known. So many of his fellow classmates have reached out to me and told me if it wasn't for Omar, they would not have passed a class."

The family decided to put on a 5K to keep Gonzales' memory alive. His mother said at least once a year she knows others will also remember her son.

Proceeds from the 5K will go toward the robotics team at Petal High School, which is a group Gonzales was once a member of.

This year the team dedicated the season to him.

"He's loved every day and he will always be remembered," Jim Abney said. "We think about him every day. We stay proud of him."

The theme of the race is Heroes vs. Villains. Gonzales parents said he was a fan of comic books.

A costume contest will be held before the race for the best villain and best hero costume.

Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and the race will begin at 8 a.m.