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‘Fantastic’ support spurs record sales

Submitted photo Fredonia High School students sell papers at a Tim Hortons location on Vineyard Drive Wednesday.

Wayne Hotelling did not have the smoothest of starts to his early Wednesday morning. After traveling from his home in Silver Creek to pick up some 1,700 newspapers to sell as part of the Laurel Memorial Run and Walk fund-raiser, he found himself in the middle of a major rainstorm around 5 a.m.

“It was a bit of a rough ride,” he said.

Fortunately, it was not an omen of things to come. Just the opposite, in fact.

For the first time since the Laurel Run special edition began in 2007, both The Post-Journal in Jamestown and OBSERVER in Dunkirk were involved in the effort. Thanks to a number of dedicated volunteers — including plenty of those who have helped in the past — it was a record amount raised in the 14-year happening.

In all, more than 2,500 newspaper sales raised nearly $4,000.

Many of the sales came from Tim Hortons locations in the north and south county. But other volunteers, especially those in the heart of Forestville and Laurel Hotelling’s hometown of Silver Creek, received excellent support from residents and motorists.

That’s not only a tribute to a giving community — it also shows how much Laurel was loved in this community. As noted in one of the special edition articles submitted by Steve Waterson, community relations director at The Resource Center, this is the 25th anniversary of the countywide event that had a very different beginning.

In the summer of 1997, Wayne Hotelling made a statewide trek in honor of his oldest daughter, Laurel, who had Down syndrome. He had intended for Laurel Run to be a one-time thing, but his effort resonated with so many people that Wayne and his wife, Elaine, decided to make it an annual event.

Its beginning, he said, stemmed from the legacy of Canadian Terry Fox, who in 1980 attempted a cross-country run across Canada after having his leg amputated due to cancer. “I am so thankful for the life of Terry Fox,” Hotelling said during an event in the family’s honor in 2015. “That is what inspired me. … That is what planted the seed. That is where Laurel Run came from.”

This year’s event continues a tradition of taking place on the third Friday and Saturday of the month. There will be some minor tweaks — and some regular happenings that begin July 16 with a flag relay following a kickoff ceremony at 8 a.m. in McCrea Point Park on Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown. At about 8:30, the first volunteer runners will begin transporting Laurel Run flags to Dunkirk. Representatives from a number of area schools, as well as the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility in Brocton, will run the various legs of the relay.

A new event this year will be the first Laurel’s Legacy Lap to be held in Jamestown. For Laurel’s Lap, people with disabilities will be invited to walk the paved path around McCrea Point Park. People without disabilities are encouraged to cheer the walkers as they make their way to the finish. Laurel’s Lap will begin at about 9.

That day’s finish also is a bit different. This year, event organizers decided to have the relay end at The Resource Center’s facility at 186 Lake Shore Drive West in Dunkirk to make it easier for people with disabilities and their support staff at TRC to be able to attend the celebration. Runners are expected to arrive between 1:30 and 1:45 p.m.

On July 17, check-in and late registration begin at 7 a.m. in the village square. At 8:30, a 5-kilometer fitness walk and a 1-kilometer fun walk will begin, followed at 9 by an 8-kilometer running race. For more information, visit www.laurel-run.com or phone 661-4735.

Here’s a final note of appreciation to all the volunteers who assisted on Wednesday morning: Sam Alzerott, Victoria Trass Bardo, Jason Basile, Rylee Beers, Kayla Bohall, George Borrello, Marlene Bradigan, Kevin Brown, Katie Czckarski, Micah Davis, Gracia Dominico, Shawn Farnham, Gigi Ferro, Leslie Fickling, Kinnan Finnegan, Scott Forster, Ethan Fry, Dayton Glavey, Annie Gondek, PJ Gondek, Steve Gromala, Fred Gullo, Luca Gullo, Sofia Gullo.

Cindy Hitchcock, Jeffrey Hornburg, Elaine Hotelling, Wayne Hotelling, Tim Jackson, Mary Johnson, Greg Krauza, Ella Koopman, Bill Kraft, Abby Lauer, Greg Lauer, Matt Lotter, Bruce Main, Claire Marshall, Reilly Miller, Austin Mitchell, Peter Palmer, Emma Patterson, Simon Price, Franchesca Pucci.

Jemeson Quinn, Megan Rhinehart, Sandra Rice, Pam Robbins, Jonathan Sandstrom, Lindsey Sandquist, Justin Sherlock, Laurie Strong, Betsy Thayer, Emily Timmerman, Dan Tomaszewski, Josie Tomaszewski, Danelle Turney, Jim Tytka Sr., Jim Tytka Jr., Steve Waterson, Keegan Whitfield, Nick Whitfield, Emma Willebrandt, Evelyn Wright-Kegelmyer, Gloria Yeager and Jane Young.

“These are just people,” Wayne Hotelling said with emotion, “who are fantastic.”

John D’Agostino is the editor of the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal and Times Observer in Warren, Pa. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call 366-3000, ext. 253.

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