By Gus Hammond EBS CONTRIBUTOR
BIG SKY – In rain, snow, blistering heat and everything in between, the Big Sky community has for eight years turned out for the Harbor’s Hero Run to honor the life of friend, classmate and neighbor Harbor deWaard. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there hasn’t been an in-person run since 2019. That changed this year on May 22.
The annual 5k color run is organized by the Lone Peak High School chapter of the National Honor Society and celebrates the life and memory of deWaard, who passed away suddenly in 2015 at age 6. Proceeds from the run benefit a Wellness in Action camp scholarship in Harbor’s name offered through Wellness in Action.
Harbor’s kindergarten classmates are now in seventh grade, and the Harbor’s Hero Run is just one of many ways they remember Harbor.
“Harbor was always very kind, he was generous and always gave us snacks,” said Miles Romney, one of Harbor’s former classmates. “Every week or month, we have a conversation about Harbor.”
One thing about growing up in Big Sky is that you know everyone, and everyone knows you. I remember being in elementary school and seeing Harbor deWaard in the halls throughout his kindergarten year. He would always have the biggest smile that would brighten a room.
According to Harbor’s class, he was a preeminent kid in the classroom and among his friends. Even beyond the celebratory run in May, Harbor’s friends find ways to remember him.
“We always ski Harbor’s Halfpipe on the mountain,” Romney said.
Soon after Harbor passed away, the Lone Peak High School chapter of the National Honor Society started organizing the 5k color run. The run had already been planned before Harbor’s passing, but many members of NHS at the time were very close with Harbor’s family and they decided to make the run in honor of Harbor after his death.
The annual event is somewhat of a signal that summer is beginning. This year on May 22, more than 100 runners came outside and had a great time in memory of Harbor. There was music provided by a lifetime local and student at LPHS, Orrin Coleman, and the music teacher at the school, Tim Sullivan. There was food, event t-shirts and prizes.
Runners had the opportunity to win a variety of prizes. Depending on where the runners placed, the prizes included BASE community center passes, a Big Sky Resort bike pass and cash.
All runners received a pair of “Socks for Skye.” Another former and beloved member of the community, Skye Swenson passed away in February of 2020. She always donned a single fun sock. She will always be remembered, like deWaard, through efforts like the Harbor’s Hero Run and Socks for Skye.
The Big Sky community always comes together when needed the most. The Harbor’s Hero Run is an event that everyone is proud to be a part of.
During his life, Harbor’s smile would light up a room, and now his memory and legacy lights up all of Big Sky. Harbor deWaard will never be forgotten in this community and his spirit still lives on throughout Big Sky.