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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


May 18, 2002 - Issue 61


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Man Runs to Remember His Son


SHIPROCK, NM - Kee Sandoval is a man with a mission.

The Shiprock resident began a run south on U.S. 666 Monday morning that will take him down to Window Rock and Ft. Defiance, Ariz., then back home by Friday. He is doing the run to raise awareness to the problems of drunken driving.

This year, he is also running in memory of the victims killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Kee's son, Lennie Roy Sandoval, was run over by a hit-and-run drunk driver July 3, 1998. He was 27. This is the fourth year of the Lennie R. Sandoval Memorial Run, which always finishes on May 10, the anniversary of Lennie's birth. The family has a birthday cake each year after the run.

"What happened to him (Lennie) still goes on. I'm hoping to wake more people up," the elder Sandoval said.

Sandoval was a cross country runner during the mid-1960s in high school at the Inter-Mountain Indian School at Brigham City, Utah.

"I feel good, I'm ready to do it," he said Monday morning, as he warmed up on U.S. 666 south of the Post Office before he run. His wife Judy, daughters Nina and Claudia, son Chris and grandson Jacob were there with him, providing support and driving safety vehicles behind him as he ran.

"This is to remember my son," Judy said.

"It's the only way to remember my brother," Nina added. "By doing this run, he knows we are thinking of him. He's in our prayers and in our thoughts."

Clauda added it's also to remember all the victims of drunken drivers.

Sandoval wore a T-shirt as he ran with the names of 53 victims printed on the back.

Earlier Sandoval had said "it's not right to drive drunk. A lot of people get killed, especially on the stretch toward Gallup.

Sandoval has invited anyone who wants to run a portion of the memorial run to join in. The ex-Marine said he would like to see some veterans join him.

Losing their oldest son was devastating for Kee and Judy and their entire family.

The driver who killed Lennie was never found. Lennie was hitchhiking near New Mexico 371 and Navajo Route 36 when he was hit.

"It was difficult," Kee said. "I'm finally coming out of it. I still can't really talk about it. I don't want what happened to happen to someone else. I want to send a message to guys who drink and drive that you can hurt or kill somebody."

"I'm going to keep on running," he added. "I'm against alcohol and what it does to people anybody not just my people."

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