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Man to honor friend by competing in marathon

DULUTH - A Hall County firefighter will compete in a Nashville marathon today in memory of an Army Special Forces sergeant who collapsed and died last weekend training for the run.

Steve Durling, a Hall County firefighter and a member of Operation One Voice already training for the marathon, will compete in today's Country Music Marathon wearing his own number and Sgt. Andy Haney's number and time chip.

"Sgt. Haney will complete the race that he died training for," said Lt. Bill Stevens, Duluth Police COPS Division and Operation One Voice chief officer.

"Sgt. Haney was a Special Forces medic and had planned to become a Nashville firefighter. What an honor it will be for Steve Durling, a firefighter, to run for a brother."

A Lawrenceville native, Haney graduated from Central Gwinnett High School in 1996. He trained as an Arabic translator and a paramedic and served two tours of duty in Iraq.

After the race, Operation One Voice team members will present Haney's number, marathon medal and other items to Haney's mother.

"This is what Operation One Voice is all about," Stevens said. "Firefighters, police officers and their community standing up for our special operations forces and their families."

Operation One Voice is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to educate the children of special operation forces personnel killed in battle or training.