Laurel Run paper sales set record

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Members of Fredonia High School’s football team sold special Laurel Run editions of the OBSERVER at the Tim Horton’s Vineyard Drive location on Tuesday morning. Pictured from left to right (back row) are Anthony Gullo, Jake Helmer, J.V. Head Coach Justin Sherlock, Jake Skinner, Alex Christy and Greg Krauza, Resource Center volunteer. In the front row, left to right, are Greyson Krzyzanowicz, Dalton Gardner and Greg Johnson.

Whether one bought it in line at a Tim Horton’s drive-thru, on the corner of Barker Common in Fredonia or in front of Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, the purchase of Tuesday’s special Laurel Run edition of the OBSERVER resulted in a record-breaking fundraiser for the Laurel Memorial Run and The Resource Center.

According to OBSERVER Publisher John D’Agostino, more than $2,400 was raised through Tuesday’s special edition sales. “We are honored to play a role in promoting and supporting the Laurel Memorial Run,” said D’Agostino. “This was our 13th sale, which has allowed us to raise more than $28,000 to assist The Resource Center in its mission. That contribution says a lot about this community.”

Tuesday’s special edition sale exceeded last year’s total by more than $200 and brought plenty of attention to one of the most beloved fundraising events of the summer. This year’s 23rd Annual Laurel Memorial Run is set for July 19 and 20, which includes the 30-mile relay from Jamestown to Dunkirk on Friday and the 1K, 5K and 8K runs in Silver Creek on Saturday.

The run was started by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling of Silver Creek, whose daughter, Laurel, was their inspiration. Laurel, who passed away in 2017, was born with Down syndrome and worked at Dunkirk’s Resource Center for over 30 years. She proved that a happy and productive life is possible, regardless of intellectual or physical impairments, and her parents made it their mission to promote this truth through an annual run.

According to Steve Waterson, community relations director at The Resource Center, funds raised by the paper sales support the run, which raises money for Filling the Gap, Inc. This non-profit organization works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County by enhancing employment and training opportunities.

OBSERVER Photo by Mary Heyl Fredonia sophomore and basketball team member Fred Gullo sold special Laurel Run editions of the OBSERVER along with his teammates around Barker Common in Fredonia on Tuesday.

Waterson, who could be seen selling papers at the Route 60 Tim Horton’s location in Fredonia, was excited for another successful year of paper sales. “It’s been a beautiful day, which certainly doesn’t hurt,” he told the OBSERVER. “This year, we have volunteers selling papers at the new Cassadaga Tim Horton’s, so that’s been a big help.”

From 6 to 10 a.m. on Tuesday, over 50 volunteers sold special editions of the OBSERVER throughout northern Chautauqua County, including multiple locations in Silver Creek and all Tim Horton’s locations in Cassadaga, Dunkirk, Fredonia, Gowanda and Irving. “I’m grateful to everyone who has supported us by buying a paper and all who have volunteered their time today to sell them,” Waterson said. “Many have donated several dollars and told us to keep the paper to sell to someone else. We met a gentleman who knew nothing about Laurel Run or The Resource Center and, after hearing about our cause, gave us a $100 bill. The fact that he was touched enough by our cause to make such a substantial donation was amazing and we’re very grateful.”

Of course, there’s nothing like a little healthy competition to fuel paper sales, as demonstrated by the Fredonia High School basketball and football teams, who sold papers at Barker Common and the Vineyard Drive Tim Horton’s, respectively. “I’m buying a sheet pizza for the team that sells the most papers,” said Resource Center volunteer Greg Krauza, who sold papers with the football team at Tim Horton’s. “It’s really heartwarming to see 15 to 20 kids get out of bed before 5:30 a.m. to volunteer their time to sell these papers,” said Krauza.

For the past 10 years, Fredonia’s football and basketball teams have taken part in the annual paper sale. “This is my first year selling papers,” said sophomore and basketball team member Fred Gullo. “I’ve been here since 6 a.m., and it’s been a lot of fun! I’m definitely doing it next year.”

According to Jake Skinner, member of Fredonia’s football team, “The secret is dancing! The more I dance, the more papers I sell!” Skinner could be seen showing off his moves in front of the Vineyard Drive Tim Horton’s all morning on Tuesday.

This year’s Laurel Run features new ways to participate. “We were approached by several POUND fitness instructors who will be leading a free session before the walks and runs on Saturday, July 20,” said Waterson. For those who are unable to attend the event, there is now a Virtual Laurel Run/Walk, which can be accomplished on the same day as the run or spread out over the course of several days. Waterson and his dog, Isaac, are committed to jogging 50 miles in the virtual Laurel Run, as he volunteers for the Silver Creek events each year and can’t take part in the 8-kilometer run.

To learn more about the run, register or donate, visit www.laurel-run.com or contact The Resource Center at 661-4735.