Friend carries fallen man’s weight in Umpqua Strong 9k

Umpqua Strong 5k and 9k will take place Saturday

Greg Kovach will carry the weight of Treven Anspach in the Umpqua Strong 9K, September 29, 2016 (KOIN)
Greg Kovach will carry the weight of Treven Anspach in the Umpqua Strong 9K, September 29, 2016 (KOIN)

ROSEBURG, Ore. (KOIN) — One year ago, a gunman on a rampage killed 9 people and wounded 8 more before killing himself on the campus of Umpqua Community College. A moment of silence was held Friday morning on the UCC campus.

One of the 9, Treven Anspach, will be honored in a very special way by Greg Kovach. Kovach will carry the entire weight of Anspach — 230 pounds — on his back for the entire 5.6 miles.

On Saturday the community will hold an Umpqua Strong Run and Walk

The day of the shooting, 20-year-old Treven Anspach laid over the top of another woman and “pretty much told her to stay still,” Kovach said.

Treven was bleeding and he bled all over the woman. They believe the shooter thought she was dead — and that Treven saved her life.

Treven Anspach was one of 9 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College. (Facebook)
Treven Anspach was one of 9 people killed when a gunman opened fire in a classroom at Umpqua Community College. (Facebook)

After the shooting, Kovach, 45, started making Roseburg Strong decals at his sign shop with the proceeds going to the families of the victims.

“We raised over $40,000 and we gave it to families in person,” he said.The Anspach family was the first family that received that money.

Kovach never met Treven — who was about 6-feet-4 and played basketball — but he knew his mother.

“A little over 3 months ago, my wife got a text message from Kim Anspach, and they lost their son at UCC last year,” Kovach told KOIN 6 News. “She wanted to know if I could carry the weight of her son the last mile of this event, which is a 9k.”

He wanted to do more.

“I just told her, flat out, I said if we do this, we’re going to go all the way with it.”

He’s been training for it, moving weights around, to determine the best way to carry it. Two others going with him on the 9k are military veterans.

“This is going to be easy, compared to what they went though last year.” — Greg Kovach

“This is going to be easy, compared to what they went though last year,” he said. “I could not even imagine. It’s definitely an emotional thing to talk about, but it’s something that I just feel will help ease them a little bit that day.”

Kovach, who weighs 190, said he’s “as strong as I can be right now.” He said he will finish the 9k no matter how hard it is, no matter how long it takes.

“However I have to break it down, it will get done.”

Greg Kovach will honor Treven Anspach in the Umpqua Strong 9k on October 1, 2016 (KOIN)
Greg Kovach will honor Treven Anspach in the Umpqua Strong 9k on October 1, 2016 (KOIN)

Kovach will wear a custom backpack “made for hauling elk meat and stuff like that. It’s made for hauling heavy food.”

He will go back-and-forth on his own half-mile course with flat terrain at Stewart Park, with his team and his golf cart alongside. He plans to start at 7 a.m. and hopes to finish by noon.

“You start sweating quick, that’s for sure.”

When he crosses the finish line, he wants Treven’s parents with him, and they’ll be there.

Treven’s mom is “going to cross the line with me.”

Crossing the finish line, he thinks, is “going to be probably the most emotional thing.”