OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's been about eight months since Marine Cpl. Daegan Page was killed in action during a noncombative mission to help civilians evacuate an airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, but the First Responders Foundation is working to keep his memory alive in Omaha.
"There's not a day that passes that he doesn't come into our thoughts, " said Wendy Adelson, Page's mother.
An image of Page will be on the side of their racecars, riding around with the foundation members through Nebraska and Iowa.
"People want to know about it,” said Jim Cahill, a driver and team director. “They see everything on the car, know what it's about, they want to hear the story. Now when I get in the car and strap in and have to drive, I've got two or three angels riding with me, and it kinda makes me feel better."
The idea started with a fellow Nebraska servicemember who was in Djibouti at the time of the attack.
"It was emotional. It was personal. It was sad, and we were all from Nebraska,” said Melissa Latture of the Army National Guard, who is also a racecar driver. “There was 200 of us from Nebraska that was there, and we knew we lost a fellow Nebraskan, not just a sister service member, but we lost a fellow Nebraskan, and to me, that was personal."
So Latture reached out to Page's mother, Wendy Adelson, who gave permission to honor her son's memory with a tribute on the racecars.
"While it will be cool watching people see Daegan go around the track and getting his face out and his name out in front of all of the crowd at the tracks, I think it was pretty amazing to me that a member of this race team took the time while they were hours away in a time difference on their own deployment with their own mission to reach out to us," said Adelson.
"When you win a feature, pull up in the victory lane and all the fans are there and you're getting interviewed… not about me. It's gonna be about Daegan. It's gonna be about the First Responders Foundation and the work we do," said Cahill.
To learn more about the First Responders Foundation, visit their website here.