A Washington DC man runs a marathon and raises money in memory of his step-father

A fundraiser in memory of river-lover Timmy O’Grady, pictured here at center, continues through July 31. Timmy is shown here rafting the McKenzie.

Steven Putansu was looking for a way to memorialize his step-father, who died last summer after a sudden and short illness. Timmy O’Grady was only 52 years old.

“I wanted to do something good in his name,” Steven said.

“Timmy truly loved spending time in the woods, being in nature, and getting that fresh Oregon air. When he and my mom moved to live along the McKenzie, Timmy felt he’d accomplished his life’s dream.”

Steven, who lives in Washington DC, decided to run the Foot Traffic Flat marathon in Oregon in memory of his step-father on July 4, 2012, near the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death. “People run marathons for causes all the time, so I thought I could turn this into something to remember Timmy.” Through a google search, Steven found the McKenzie River Trust. “It was a perfect fit. Timmy wasn’t an environmentalist, but he loved being outside, getting lost in the woods, and he loved the river. What he would want with every fiber of his being was that this land and this river would stay as it is for as long as it could.”

Steven began training for the marathon in February while working full time and writing his PhD dissertation in Public Administration. He’s been keeping a blog about his training runs and sharing memories of Timmy. “When I’ve got a story about Timmy in my mind, the blog is a good way to get that out,” says Steven. “Running relieves some of the stress and reduces the sadness, too.”

“Timmy was probably my most important role model. He was a truck driver, one of the best drivers out there, and one of 14 siblings. I haven’t followed exactly in his footsteps, but my whole life I’ve tried to emulate the man Timmy was.”

On July 9, 2012, Steven Putansu, second from right, and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree, planted for Timmy O'Grady, will serve as a living memorial.

Steven has raised $2,829 for the McKenzie River Trust, exceeding his goal of $100 for every mile of the marathon. “When it comes down to it,” Steven said, “Timmy loved just being near the river.” Now Steven’s efforts and the donations of his friends and family will help protect and care for the place that Timmy cherished.

Update: Steven completed the marathon in 4:20. On July 9, 2012, the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death, Steven and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree will serve as a living memory to Timmy. Steven will continue accepting donations for his fundraiser through July 31 at http://www.active.com/donate/McKenzieRiverTrust/R4R

Visit Steven’s running blog: runningfortheriver.blogspot.com

Would you like to run a marathon for land conservation like Steven?

Or maybe you’re celebrating an anniversary, planning a wedding, or would like to honor someone special by raising money in their name. With your own online fundraising page, it’s easy to reach out to family and friends. We can help. For more information, contact Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager: 541-345-2799 or brandi@mckenzieriver.org.

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