El Pasoans take a challenge to honor a fallen friend

POSTED: 12:50 PM MDT Mar 24, 2013    UPDATED: 05:48 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
El PASO, Tx -

It was a test of endurance and a challenge for those who attended the Javier Arana Memorial Desert Run, but family and friends say it's a way to pay homage to a man who served his country and the Sun City.

"When we got the news of Trooper Arana the feeling is indescribable," said Department of Public Safety Trooper Elizabeth Barney.

It was March 24, 2012, when the call came in the early morning.

DPS Trooper Javier Arana was responding to a pursuit call when his patrol car was struck by a pickup. The impact caused Arana's car to burst into flames. The high temperatures made for a volatile situation. Arana's ammunition started going off, and he died at the scene.

Early Saturday, the American flag waved in his memory.

"This is our first annual memorial run," said Barney.

It all began with a musical tribute. "You went on a trip to the stars," a  young man sang wich was an emotional moment for Arana's mother as she clung to her daughter for comfort.

Then it was a quick setup for the 2- mile race through El Paso's sand dunes.

"The sand the hills I mean it was a good obstacle course," said one participant

Even the course reflected Arana's character.

"They said they made it challenging because he always liked challenges," said another runner.

Some ran and some walked, but participants had their own reasons for attending the race.

"I did it to of course keep Javier's memory and also to support his family," said a friend of the Arana family.

Even Arana's daughter, Naommi, worked up a sweat for the love of her father.

"He was my dad, and I'm here to represent him keep him in memory," said Naommi.

Barney, who knew Arana, tells ABC-7 Arana's death shouldn't be forgotten. He made the ultimate sacrifice, dying in the line of of duty, she said.

"This is a very important day for everyone, especially those that knew him. He is a great man, he served his country as a Marine and he served his state as a state trooper, and he's an honorable man, and this is why this day is so important to us," said Barney.

Javier Arana was 32 when he died last year. He was the 87th DPS trooper to have died in the line of duty.