With Laurel in spirit, Run must go on

Submitted Photo Wayne and Elaine Hotelling present Kennedy Parks, center, with a $100 gift certificate for designing the winning logo for this year's Laurel Memorial Run.

Around 6 this morning, three individuals began a 30-mile trek from Jamestown to Dunkirk. Rose Carr, Keith Gregoire and Lisa Glasier are familiar with the course. The trio made the run last year in what is considered the “Laurel-thon.”

Later at noon, a victory celebration will kick off at Washington Park here in Dunkirk to celebrate those runners and those who participated in the flag relay. All these happenings have been a part of the Laurel Run tradition for years.

But the 22nd edition of the happening is very different.

For the last two decades, Laurel Hotelling was not only the face of the Run that bears her name, she also was a person who made many of us believe in her cause and come together. Hotelling, 54, passed away last November.

Her persistence and spirit were unwavering. Even on bad days, she always had the ability to make those around her smile.Continued from Page 1

It was one of those gifts passed down by mom and dad, Wayne and Elaine. The Silver Creek couple are tireless advocates for The Resource Center, the run and those with disabilities.

On the morning of July 10, Wayne Hotelling met me at 4 a.m. outside the OBSERVER offices in Dunkirk in anticipation of the annual special edition sale. He became a bit choked up with both sadness and pride to see the photo of Laurel on the front page racing with determination on her tricycle.

After a brief break, he then went to work. He took 850 copies to Silver Creek-area locations and headed home to pick up T-shirts for the sellers.

By 6 a.m., all those papers had hit the streets — and the community responded greatly.

Nearly 1,700 papers had been sold that morning, contributing $2,273 to The Resource Center efforts for adults with disabilities. It was an amazing day — and the most money ever raised in the sale.

This year’s Laurel Memorial Run festivities wrap up this afternoon in Dunkirk and continue Saturday with a full slate of events in Silver Creek that begin at 7 in the morning. Once the walks and race end, a tradition continues with Laurel’s Legacy Lap, which is an emotional event filled with tears and joy and open for anyone with a disability.

It is the portion of the celebration that made Laurel’s tricycle — and the smile that came with it — so special. Fittingly, that trike will be at the lap, Wayne Hotelling said last week. Someone may decide to ride or it may go untouched. Whatever the case, it will be surrounded by love.

¯ ¯ ¯

Here is a list of those who helped sell special edition OBSERVERs on July 10:

¯ Dunkirk-Fredonia: Abby Adam, Vicky Bardo, Dom Gullo, Greg Krauza, Greg Lauer, Bruce Main, Becky Mirek, Brayden Myers, Owen Nicosia, Pete Notaro, Don Parker, Tom Proper, Nico Pucci, Tyler Putney, city Mayor Willie Rosas, Nate Shuart, Karen Silzle, Laurie Strong, Steve Waterson, Shelly Williamson and Jane Young.

¯ Forestville — Marlene Bradigan and Gloria Yeager.

¯ Gowanda — Sue Britt, Kala Farley, Ashton Francis, Peter Palmer, Nancy Palmer and Kristine Twoguns.

¯ Irving — Bill Kraft and Sandra Rice.

¯ Silver Creek — John Bailey, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello, Ron Chowjdak, Charles Dinardo, village Mayor Jeff Hornburg, Randy Nurmi, John Olszewski Jr., Lee Roof, Steve Schmitt, John Stonefoot, Jim Tytka Sr., Jim Tytka Jr. and Dave Wilson.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.