5K Run, Walk To Honor Steven Szwydek
Community members will be rallying next month to honor the memory of Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek, who was fatally wounded on October 20, 2005, by an improvised explosive device while on his second tour of duty in Iraq.
The first-ever Szwydek Memorial 5K run/walk will get under way at Southern Fulton Junior/ Senior High School at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 17. Registration and check-in is set for the hour prior to the race. The course will make its way around the district track and eventually onto Green Lane before returning to the high school.
Event organizer Angela Booth stated hopes remain high that sufficient funding will be raised in order to send the junior classes representing the Central Fulton, Forbes Road and Southern Fulton school districts on their annual pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetery, where the late Szwydek and other fallen heroes will be remembered.
According to Booth, a business teacher at the Southern Fulton School District, officials have set a goal of 150 participants for their first walk/run. Runners and walkers falling under the age of 12 are required to be accompanied by an adult.
Medals will be awarded to both male and female runners in several age categories, including 17 and under, 18 to 39 and 40 and over.
“I don’t want to see this trip disappear because I have received a lot of wonderful feedback from within the community on how much their children or grandchildren enjoyed the trip,” said Booth, who got plenty of input on how to organize the event from her relatives involved with the creation of the annual Ben K-5K run/walk. Booth has been assisted during the organization of the first Szwydek Memorial 5K run/walk by fellow teachers Jeremy Hollinshead of Forbes Road, Melissa Barton from Southern Fulton and Mac Miller, Central Fulton.
“I feel every U.S. citizen should go to Arlington Cemetery at least one time in their life. There are not words to describe the feeling when you walk and see all of the stones ... ,” Booth added.
One-hundred-dollar sponsorships are currently being sought from interested businesses, organizations and residents. In return for their monetary pledge, sponsor names will be listed on the back of event day T-shirts. The front of the shirt will include special artwork designed by Southern Fulton student Ellie Mundale, who prepared the “Running for Freedom” patriotic design as part of a graphic design class project.
Applications for interested runners and walkers can be obtained at branch offices of F&M Bank, Missy’s Hair Salon and Mellott’s Wood Preserving. Race day information can also be obtained by contacting Nancy Szwydek at 717-294-6774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals wishing to preregister for the April 17 event should have their completed application and a registration fee of $15 turned in by March 22. Race day registration fee is $20. All participants will receive a complementary “Running for Freedom” T-shirt.
Based on the outcome of this year’s run and walk, organizers may opt to turn the event into an annual fundraiser and as a means to honor Szwydek’s memory. Additional fundraisers scheduled to date to benefit the Szwydek Semper Fi Memorial Fund include a basket bingo on Sunday, April 25, at Southern Fulton hosted by the Iota Lamda Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi.
Contributions and tax-deductible donations can also be sent directly to the fund at F&M Bank-Warfordsburg branch, Attn: Semper Fi Memorial, 560 Great Cove Road, Warfordsburg, PA 17267. Checks should be made payable to Semper Fi Memorial.