LYNCHBURG, Va. – Eight rings: That’s how many times the end of watch bell sounded for retired Navy Command Master Chief Horace Ellis.
The Huddleston man died in a car crash Monday.
Virginia State Police said the 78-year-old’s car hit a tractor-trailer stopped at the intersection of Cottontown and Forest Roads.
Now, there’s a makeshift memorial with tennis shoes tied to a light pole in his memory.
“That does show you the love and respect people gave him from the running community, because he was as dedicated as you can get at 78 years old, still trying to find a way to run and keep it going, " Richard Stone, Ellis’ friend, said.
Stone ran 15 marathons with his best friend of 30 years.
“Many times, he ended up in a medical tent with an IV at the end of a marathon, as you can imagine, because he had given all that he could,” Stone said.
Stone was waiting to go on a run with his friend that morning.
“He was never late. I mean not even a minute late and when he was 15 minutes late, I said, ‘What in the world is going on?‘” Stone said.
The last few days have been hard for many local veterans. Ellis came down to monument terrace as much as he could to have fellowship with them.
“He lived a good life. We honor his service,” Steve Bozeman, Monument Terrace organizer, said.
“He lived large and he loved life and above all he liked running,” Stone said.