Local vets award medals at Old Glory Twilight Run

Published 10:31 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023



Danville resident Jennifer Gladdis, who coordinated the Old Glory Twilight Run for Apex Promos at the July 4th celebration at Millennium Park, had the idea to have a pair of local veterans, J.T. Thomas and Alonzo McGuire, to award medals to the runners.

Email newsletter signup

“We thought it would be good to honor our veterans and have them be a part of it. That is what it’s all about,” said Gladdis. “It was a nice night. Alonzo and J.T. don’t like to talk about themselves and how wonderful they are. But they are really great. Anytime I have ever needed them they are just a phone call away.”

McGuire who served in the U.S. Army during the 1960s, began working for parks and recreation in 1970. Thomas served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the 1970s before having a career as both a police officer and firefighter.

“I have worked with J.T. during his police years, and he was a school resource officer after his retirement,” Gladdis said. “Alonzo has had my parents, my siblings and all my children. He works with my daughter now too at parks and rec. They have served in so many different capacities”

McGuire has worked for parks and rec as long as Gladdis can remember.

“Alonzo is the face of the park,” Gladdis said. “I was 2 or 3 when I would be buying lollipops from him at the concession stand. I would run out of money and he would always say it was on him.”

McGuire’s favorite aspect of working at the park is watching people enjoy it.

“I like the grounds and being around people,” McGuire said. “I tell everybody that I have been doing this for many years and I have never had kids or their parents say a bad word to me, and that is something.”

Firefighting was the first job Thomas found as a civilian.

“I found out I liked the excitement to be honest,” Thomas said. “When you were actually doing what you were paid to do it was neat, Helping people was the number one reason but excitement was number 2.

This year was the first year of the Twilight Run and had nearly 100 participants.

“Danville is a wonderful community with a patriotic population and numerous amazing veterans,” said owner of Apex Promoz John Bodner. “This race is just one more way that Danville can honor the founding of our great country as well as the service many of our citizens have given. We hope that every member of the community looks at our medals, socks and neck gaiters and appreciates the wonderful country they live in and most importantly appreciates all of service men and women and other public servants that make The United States the greatest country in the world”