Run kicks off for its 21st year
JAMESTOWN — Wayne Hotelling said it’s hard to believe.
For 21 years, Laurel Run, an event he and his wife started in honor of their oldest daughter, Laurel, who has Down syndrome, has remained a popular — and inspiring — tradition in the community.
The two-day event, which celebrates the potential of those living with disabilities, features multiple running and walking events. Money raised goes to Filling the Gap Inc., which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families in Chautauqua County.
“This is something near and dear to our hearts,” Hotelling said. “It’s been an unbelievable situation, and it’s only happened because of The Resource Center and the support we’ve received from the community.”
Laurel Run kicked off Friday with a flag relay, beginning at The Resource Center’s facility at 75 Jones and Gifford Ave. in Jamestown. Teams of volunteer runners, which included representatives from area schools, as well as the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility in Brocton, ran the various legs of the relay, transporting the flags to Dunkirk.
Prior to the race, a kick-off ceremony was held inside The Resource Center, where dignitaries such as Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan praised the event for its inspiring message.
“What Laurel Run is all about is overcoming your disability and being all that you can be,” Horrigan said. “When we strive to achieve the absolute best that we can be, no matter who we are or what are capabilities, then everyone is stronger, our community is stronger.”
Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Lisa Vanstrom, who spoke on behalf of state Sen. Cathy Young, R-Olean, also spoke at the gathering and praised the event and The Resource Center.
“Laurel Run highlights the great work that’s done here at The Resource Center to help raise funds for all special programs and the extra special care they provide,” Goodell said. “So a special thanks to The Resource Center and all who support them.”
Friday’s events were a warmup for the main Laurel Run activities today in Silver Creek. Today’s events include fun runs for children age 7 and younger, followed by Laurel’s Lap, which is for anyone with a disability.