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Plaque honors victims of IHOP shooting

By Carter Eckl ceckl@nevadaappeal.com
Retired Nevada Guard Maj. Kenneth Curtzwiler, left, and Lt. Col. Laura Boldry pull off the cover of the plaque honoring the victims of the 2011 IHOP shooting. The plaque sits in the parking lot of Chase Bank, on the site that was formerly the IHOP.
Carter Eckl / Nevada Appeal

A smoggy Sunday morning didn’t detract from the Nevada National Guard’s ninth annual 5K walk/run to honor the victims of the 2011 International House of Pancakes shooting.
Emotional reflections from Lt. Col. Laura Boldry, retired Nevada Guard Maj. Kenneth Curtzwiler and Carson City Sheriff Kenneth Furlong preceded the annual event.

“We were devastated by it, dropped to our knees,” said Furlong. “Our entire community had been shot. … We’ve had to put something back together that we never, ever before anticipated.”
Prior to Furlong’s reflection, Boldry and Curtzwiler unveiled a memorial rock with the names of the four victims who perished Sept. 6, 2011 – Nevada Guardsmen Lt. Col. Heath Kelly, 35, Master Sgt. Christian Riege, 38, Sgt. 1st Class Miranda McElhiney, 31 and Florence Donovan-Gunderson, 67.

The rock sits in the parking lot of what is now Chase Bank, which is set to open shortly.

Touching tribute

Curtzwiler’s memories of that day have been shaped different than most.

In 2000, he was reunited with his daughter, Sgt. Miranda McElhiney, by chance while getting a physical.

“She looks at me and says, ‘I think you know my mother,’” recalled Curtzwiler. “I’m standing there in my shorts and I got to me her again and we stayed in contact.”

After years apart, Curtzwiler explained through the details of that moment his favorite story of his daughter.

“She was a wonderful person and so were the other soldiers that we lost,” said Curtzwiler. “As long as one person remembers, nobody will ever forget our Nevada National guard soldiers or civilians that lost their lives in that tragedy.”
Around 7:15 a.m. the memorial run/walk began as former servicemen and women as well as some youth and a few canines started off on the 5K route to the Adjunct General Complex.

The route has stayed the same every year and marks the route the Nevada Guardsmen would have taken home that day.  

“It’s not just us that wear the uniforms. It’s our family. It’s our friends,” said Furlong.