The inaugural Darren Manzella-Lapeira Memorial Run held on Aug. 2 was a huge success with 219 runners and walkers.
The event began with a flag ceremony presented by members of the John W. Dill American Legion Post 434. Darren's nieces and nephews started the runners and walkers off with the sound of an air horn and party poppers. After the run, participants gathered back at the Legion for a ceremony where Darren's family thanked the community for their support. A silent and ticket auction as well as Chiavetta's chicken barbecue was enjoyed while participants visited with friends. Children enjoyed games, face painting and snacks throughout the day.
During the ceremony, the Manzella family presented a check to the Community Foundation for the Darren Manzella-Lapeira Veteran's Assistance Fund for $10,000. However, organizers are pleased to announce that with the additional money raised during the post-run celebration, they will be adding an additional $6,000 to that amount for a grand total of $16,000.
All proceeds from the Darren-Manzella Memorial Run held on Aug. 2 were donated to the Darren Manzella-Lapeira Veterans Assistance Fund, administered by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. Recently, Nancy Manzella, Darren’s mother, presented Randy Sweeney, Community Foundation executive director, with a check for $16,000. For more information on the fund, or to donate, visit crcfonline.org. There is also a website www.manzella-lapeira-memorialrun.com. and a Facebook page.
Through the Darren Manzella-Lapeira Veteran's Assistance fund, local veterans are able to seek financial assistance for immediate needs such as rent, groceries and utilities with the help of the Chautauqua County Veterans Service Agency. The agency also has trained counselors available to provide referral services in crisis situations.
The Manzella Family and Memorial Run Team would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support and generosity. Next year's run is already in the works and is scheduled on Darren's birthday, Aug. 8, 2015. For more information about the run or to view pictures of the event, visit the website www.manzella-lapeira-memorialrun.com. The public can also find a facebook page and like it.