CHAZY — James Wilson celebrated each day with a passion for life, his loved ones and the outdoors.
Whether it was plastering his family’s home with hundreds of holiday lights each December, taking his motorcycle out or strapping on his running shoes, the Chazy native relished any reason to be outside.
As a teen, James discovered a fondness for running and often trained with his three siblings near their Lake Shore Road home.
Now, Jamie Billiter, Jennie Cody and Joel Wilson will once again hit the beaten path, this time without their brother, but united in his memory.
James, 26, was killed last June in a motorcycle accident that left his family, coworkers and friends devastated by the loss but motivated to honor a man who had always dedicated himself to helping others.
“What a heart he had,” said his mother, Beth Wilson. “He always saw the good in what was being done and was a very caring person.”
In that spirit of positive action and generosity, his family and coworkers at Jeffords Steel created the James Dean Wilson Scholarship Fund at Clinton Community College.
Now, they have now organized a race to honor the industrial draftsman and help local high-school students follow in his academic footsteps.
The Strides for James Fun Run, a 5-K/10-K run, 1-mile walk and children’s fun run, will be held Saturday, May 11, at Point au Roche State Park in Beekmantown.
More than 100 people have already signed up for the race, including James’s siblings, who will set out on the 5K.
All proceeds will benefit the Scholarship Fund, which was created a month after his death and has already raised more than $11,000 to help future students heading into the Industrial Technologies Program at CCC.
For James’s father, Dean Wilson, the scholarship is a reflection of his son’s legacy of selfless giving. He said the run “is something I’d like to see continue and grow.”