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Right ‘at home’

Wilsons take pride in helping boost Cassadaga

Submitted Photos Mark and Tonia Wilson have fallen in love with Cassadaga and plan to do everything they can to better the village.

CASSADAGA — Mark and Tonia Wilson have been a positive influence everywhere they’ve been, and they’ve now started to make their mark in Cassadaga.

When they first met in kindergarten, the couple never thought they would end up where they are today. Mark and Tonia Wilson have seen all walks of life and they now hope to be walking down one that leads to the finish line.

They both grew up in Mayville, where Tonia would go on to finish high school. Mark Wilson’s family eventually left Mayville, but stayed in the Western New York region.

The two met again in 2015.

Tonia Wilson moved to the Hudson Valley to live with Mark, and soon after, they got married.

Mark and Tonia always exercise with each other, including long bike rides.

The two have synced in multiple ways, including the simple things like each loving caramels — and the more complex, which included Tonia falling in love with fitness like Mark had been for years. The couple now walks, bikes, runs and holds athletic events all across the state. These events include triathlons, 50Ks, and the now famous CassadagaMan.

After driving back and forth for a year from the Hudson Valley to Western New York to visit Tonia Wilson’s sons weekly, the couple came across Cassadaga while attending a memorial service at the Cassadaga Legion.

“We immediately thought, ‘We have to do an event here,'” Tonia Wilson explained. “We never knew Cassadaga even existed before that. That was when we were introduced to this beautiful village.”

Mark and Tonia Wilson instantly fell in love with Cassadaga and what it has to offer. Since then, they have hosted athletic events in the village for four years and eventually moved to Cassadaga in July 2019.

“You know, we’ve lived in other places, but we have never felt so at home than we do now,” the pair said. “We love Cassadaga so much.”

Mark and Tonia Wilson feel right at home in Cassadaga.

Aside from holding events, the two have now taken on another adventure in their lives. On Sept. 30, Mark Wilson was appointed to the Cassadaga Village Board to replace a vacant position.

“We had already been coming to town for a while and we’ve lived here for a year now. People had been joking around saying, ‘You’ll become the mayor,’ but we never really thought anything of it,” he said. “But I have a serious concern and care for where I live, especially now. That passion we have for the village is really important to us. I never expected this, it’s a great honor.”

Mark Wilson hopes to bring to the board and village fair judgment, a new perspective and new ideas. Since he is now representing the people, he explained that he has to consider how every side looks on all topics and make sure that whatever decision is made will be best for the village as a whole.

“I’m not looking at a left or right, I’m looking at what is best for the village,” he said. “I really want to take a balanced approach to everything and look at things from all angles. Not just as a trustee, but a business owner and a resident, and look at how it will impact everybody.”

The couple plans to stay in Cassadaga, where they truly feel at home. They will continue to hold events and try to incorporate more residents and other locals whenever they can.

“The village, the athletes, the volunteers, everybody is so supportive and we couldn’t ask for more,” Tonia Wilson said. “It didn’t happen right away, but everybody is starting to come onboard and we couldn’t be happier.”

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