Memorial Day Race Honors Clarendon Hills Man Killed in

Westmont, IL —

While an employee of a Westmont fitness center was looking to organize a 5K run
as a way to honor her fiancé, who was killed in Iraq last year, she felt it was to big
of a task.

But thanks to Westmont community members and a Westmont police officer, he
was not forgotten on Memorial Day.

The Westmont Park District and the Village of Westmont held the 5K Race to the
Flag run Sunday, May 30 at Ty Warner Park both to raise money for St. Jude’s
Children’s Hospital, and to honor Terry Barnich, a civilian contractor who was
killed in Iraq on Memorial Day in 2009.

Race coordinator Mike Ramsey said the event went well, and that the plan is to
anchor the annual fundraiser on Memorial Day weekend in future years.

“It may take a few days to find out how much we raised, since the Westmont Lions
Club has said they will donate some proceeds from their pancake breakfast to the
cause as well,” Ramsey said.

The goal was to bring in $5,000, he said.

After the race, a special ceremony was held at the monument at the park, where
more than two dozen members of Barnich’s family attended, some coming all the
way from Austin, Texas, to be there.

“This was such an honor, since both Terry and I were marathon runners,” said
Sheila Grace, Barnich’s fiancee when he was killed. “Terry would have been
honored and to make this event for St. Jude’s is something real special.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of a flag to Barnich’s family
by state Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-24th District, of Hinsdale, Ramsey said.

Grace works as physical trainer at MBC Fitness, 28 N. Cass Ave., and lives with
her three children in Clarendon Hills.

Barnich, who was employed by the State Department serving as deputy director of
the Iraq Transition Assistance Office, was killed along with two others when a
roadside bomb went off near Fallujah, Iraq, just three weeks before he was
expected to return home, where he and Grace were going to be married.

She and Barnich had dated for about five years, and he had taken a leave of
absence as an attorney to work as a contractor in Iraq, leaving in 2007.

“Terry had skills in public policy, and wanted to he out with the Iraqi development,”
Grace said. “He always felt that if someone could help, they should, and his skills
were needed. He felt so strongly he ended up sacrificing his life.”

While he was planning to stay for nine months when he originally left for Iraq,
Grace said Barnich kept extending his stay because he felt progress was being

With both Grace and Barnich being avid runners, she was looking to organize an
event to honor Barnich, but the logistics and timing was challenging to coordinate.

Westmont police Sgt. Jim Schlicher, who also works as a trainer with Grace at
MBC, said he was familiar with Barnich’s story. He thought with the annual St. Jude’
s run being held Memorial Day weekend, it was a good way to honor Barnich.
Schlicher also is a member of the Village of Westmont’s Health and Wellness
Committee, which organizes the race each year.

“The committee decided that we wanted to do something to honor the men and
women who serve our country,” said Schlicher. “After we came up with the name of
the race, we thought it would be a good thing to basically hold the event in Barnich’
s honor, and for all veterans.”

Grace said hen Schlicher approached her about the idea, it was “like a dream
coming true.”

“It was like getting a gift on a silver platter when Jim told me about it, because it is
the perfect way to honor Terry,” she said.
Terry Barnich
Memorial Day 2009