An annual 5K run/walk event in Jackson, the Cooperstrong 5K, will be conducted on Saturday morning, May 28. It will be the sixth edition and the proceeds from it will be used to help complete a major building project to support the Jackson High School (JHS) softball program.

The event serves as the major fundraiser for the Emileigh Jo Cooper Memorial Fund, which supports the Jackson High School girls’ softball program and honors the memory of the late Emileigh Jo Cooper.

Cooper, a 2012 graduate of JHS where she was an outstanding scholar and athlete, moved to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia where she once again excelled in the classroom while becoming a top player on the Thundering Herd softball team. Tragically, she was killed in an automobile crash in February 2016, shortly after she had been hired to coach the Jackson Ironladies’ softball team that coming season.

To honor Emileigh’s memory and to support the JHS softball program, Emileigh’s aunt, Kellina Cooper Snyder, organized and conducted the annual Cooperstrong 5K event -- and it has received tremendous community support and participation. Traditionally, the course begins alongside Jackson Middle School on Vaughn Street and continues through the streets of town before ending at the JHS softball field on the JHS campus.

In announcing the return of the event in 2022, Snyder says proceeds from this year’s Cooperstrong 5K will be used to help finish the fundraising campaign for a new hitting facility, which will be situated adjacent to the softball field.

“The Emileigh Jo Cooper Memorial Fund is making a hard push to raise the last money needed to build the JHS Ironladies Hitting Facility,” Snyder told The Telegram. “As you know, every year our #CooperStrong 5K fundraiser is used to help fund the JHS Ironladies’ athletic program. Along with that, this year, we are pushing to raise the last money needed to build this facility. It will be with great honor and pride to be able to break ground for the construction of the new EMILEIGH JO COOPER HITTING BARN. We live in a great, loving and giving community.  We truly do need our hometown to help us meet this goal.”

Snyder noted that when Emileigh accepted the job as JHS softball coach her number one goal was “to make sure each young girl in the city of Jackson would have access to every tool out there to get better, and of course, she wanted them to look good in their red and white.”

Snyder concluded, “We want to give more young ladies the opportunity to play at the highest level like Emileigh. Not every young girl will play Division 1 softball, but each and every young girl does deserve to have the best facility to be the best they can be. We thank you all for your continued support and prayers.”

Walk-up runners, walkers, baby strollers and even dog walkers are welcome to participate and can register between 7 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 28.  You can still donate online at cooperstrong5k.com or on the day of the race. The race will begin at 8 a.m. at the Jackson Middle School parking lot and end as usual at the JHS softball diamond.