5K run/walk salutes memory of Marine from Beverly

Kyle Bankes was an avid runner and musician and after the Fort Frye student graduated in 2009, he followed in his older brother’s footsteps and joined the Marines.

“Kyle always looked up to my brother Raymond,” said Bankes’ older sister, Angie Hindy. “He learned a lot in his time in the Marines and he was really proud of himself.”

When the motorcycle enthusiast passed away as the result of a motorcycle accident on July 13, he had been honorably discharged from service just the day before. Attendees to his funeral in Beverly included friends from Seattle, Wash. and Japan, where Kyle had been stationed.

“He was just friends with everybody and really close to our family … Kyle loved music, loved to run and was extremely smart,” Hindy said of her brother, who would have turned 23 on Sept. 18.

Kyle was on the cross country team at Fort Frye and was coached by Alana Cunningham, one of the organizers of the Sgt. Kyle Bankes Memorial 5K Run/Walk, planned for Saturday at the school to raise money for a scholarship in honor of Kyle.

“The Sergeant Kyle Bankes Memorial Fund is a scholarship that will go to a student who is interested in the same things that Kyle was interested in,” Hindy said. “He was so passionate about music and taught himself to play the guitar. He also loved drama.”

Bankes was enrolled to start attending Ohio University this fall and was planning to major in information and telecommunication systems, minor in business and pursue his artistic passions as well.

Another organizer of the event owes a lot to Kyle Bankes. Alyssa Cheeseman, a 2012 graduate of Fort Frye, met her fiance through Kyle and their shared enthusiasm for cross country.

“We’ve been together four years and we used to tell Kyle that we (jokingly) blamed our relationship on him,” Cheeseman said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 191 people had pre-registered for the event, a fact that was not lost on Cheeseman.

“I had no idea we would get that kind of turnout … I would have been happy with 100,” she said. “The community has just been really supportive and this is something the family really needed to be able to look forward to.”

A fellow Marine will be flying in to participate in the event in honor of Kyle and others will be running on bases in California and Japan to mark the occasion, according to Cheeseman.

Saturday will mark eight weeks since Kyle was killed near Zanesville and it is something still very fresh for the family to deal with, but they know that he will be smiling down, Hindy said.

“He would be so happy about this event and I think it is something he would really love,” she said. “I really think he would be surprised and wouldn’t even realize the impact that he had on others.”

For more information about Saturday’s run/walk, visit the event page on Facebook by searching for “1st Annual Sergeant Kyle Bankes Memorial 5K Run/Walk.”