Family of slain Deerfield vet plans memorial 5K


Staff Writer
Published: 5/25/2023 3:29:30 PM

DEERFIELD — The parents of Meaghan Burns, a U.S. corpsman killed by a peer four years ago, have organized a 5K this holiday weekend to honor all fallen American service members.

Carolyn and Matthew Burns teamed with “wear blue: run to remember” to hold an event at Frontier Regional School at 9 a.m. on Sunday, the day before Memorial Day.

“It was all my wife. She got involved with this organization last year. They support Gold Star families and they invited her to a marathon in San Diego in June, last summer,” Matthews Burns said. “This organization is so supportive it’s unbelievable. They still contact us almost daily and they helped Carolyn organize this event.”

The 5K is free, and participants can walk or run. Matthew Burns plans to ruck the 5K, meaning he will carry a military backpack. He said the event will start with a “circle of remembrance” in which people say the names of loved ones who died in service. Burns’ other daughter, Kyleigh Rose, plans to travel from Boston for the event.

Meaghan Burns, a 2013 Frontier graduate, was 23 when she was one of three active-duty Navy corpsmen shot to death at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Portsmouth, Virginia, in a double homicide and suicide on May 4, 2019. Meaghan’s friend, Shianne Taylor Soles, 19, of Veradale, Washington, was also killed by Donavon Moora, 22, of New York, who was then found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a vehicle parked nearby. Burns and her friend were stationed at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Moora was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Moora was Soles’ ex-boyfriend, and reportedly was abusive. Matthew Burns said his daughter had forced Moora to go to the police station on base to get searched. The elder Burns explained his daughter then went with Soles to a restaurant so Soles could return some of Moora’s belongings to him. They were all killed shortly before 11:30 p.m. Meaghan had recently agreed to marry her boyfriend, James, a fellow U.S. Navy corpsman she met when they were stationed in Italy.

“A lot of people think Memorial Day is for veterans, and it’s not,” Matthew Burns said on Thursday. “It’s for people who have lost their lives.”

He said dealing with his daughter’s death has not gotten any easier over the past four years.

“It’s really a struggle,” he said. “Still tears every day.”

More information about “wear blue: run to remember” is available at

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-930-4120.


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