Szwydek Memorial 5K Run A Success
Having received overwhelming support from the community during the first-ever Szwydek Memorial 5K run/walk held earlier this month, organizers are already taking steps to ensure that the 2011 event is not only successful in honoring the memory of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek but also in raising sufficient funds to send local students on an annual pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetery.
Angela Booth, a business teacher at the Southern Fulton School District, fellow teachers Jeremy Hollinshead of Forbes Road, Melissa Barton from Southern Fulton and Mac Miller, Central Fulton, were responsible for not only organizing the event held at Southern Fulton Junior/ Senior High School on April 17 but for the large turnout that graced the 5K run/walk.
According to Booth, 131 individuals registered for the event, with 43 running and the remaining 88 walking the course that wound its way around the district track and onto Green Lane before returning to the high school.
Runners taking top honors were husband and wife duo William and Deanne Baker, who won the 40 and over men and women’s divisions. Coincidentally, William Baker was the very first participant to cross the finish line. Runners-up were Kirk Layton and Marianne Hoffman.
In the 18 to 39 women’s category, Melissa Mackel and Chelsey Hollenshead took respective firstand second-place finishes. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hollinshead and Zach Swope wrapped up the 18 to 39 men’s division with first- and second-place wins.
Females 17 and under winning first and second place, respectively, were Lacey Beatty and Madison Baker. The 17 and under male category was clinched by Timothy Mottern, and Larry Wilson followed up with a secondplace finish.
The youngest participant in the Szwydek Memorial 5K run/walk was Mikayla Shives, and the oldest individual to participate as a walker was Ed Yates.
“The overall response from the participants was they really enjoyed it and are looking forward to next year. The support from the community has been overwhelming,” said Booth. “Our main goal is to just continue the annual trips for each school.”
Combining registration fees with sponsorship money, Booth stated sufficient funding was raised to cover bus expenses for junior classes from all three school district to take their yearly trip to Arlington in 2011. More donations are still rolling in, she added.
Contributions and taxdeductible donations can still 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.
The 2011 Szwydek Memorial 5K run/walk is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Forbes Road School District. An exact date has not yet been selected, but event organizers hope to have it in mid-April to correspond with Szwydek’s birthday on April 18.
Szwydek was fatally wounded on October 20, 2005, by an improvised explosive device while on his second tour of duty in Iraq.