Still running for Laurel

Parents praise turnout, participants in event

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano The runners from Silver Creek pose for a picture after completing the trek.

Even amid a pandemic, there was plenty of enthusiasm and support during Friday’s annual Laurel Run.

The yearly fundraiser is an event that helps showcase skills for those with disabilities. Though Laurel Hotelling passed away in 2017, the run still holds strong, raising money and awareness every single year.

This year’s event was a little different due to the pandemic.

“We usually have so many more runners and a huge tent set up out here,” said Elaine Hotelling, Laurel’s mother. “This is still a wonderful turnout though.”

“We are so glad we still got to do something this year for Laurel,” added Wayne Hotelling, Laurel’s father. “It just wasn’t practical in any way, shape, or form to do it the way we usually do.”

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano Wayne and Elaine Hotelling, parents of the late Laurel Hotelling pose for a picture before the runners come in.

As in past years, some runners started early in the morning, trekking all the way from Jamestown to Washington Park in Dunkirk. Two people in particular who ran and biked the whole 30 miles were friends of Laurel.

Laurel and the Cossin sisters were friends in high school, all going to Silver Creek schools. Janelle and Jaylah Cossin switched between biking and running, totalling 60 miles traveled between the two of them.

The money that the sisters raise, which is currently over $1,000, will be donated to The Resource Center.

“Although the circumstances of this event have changed this year, our enthusiasm and intentions to run have not. We both miss Laurel very much. She always had a smile on her face and she never failed to brighten the room with it,” Janelle said. “By doing this run and bike, we hope we can inspire the community the way Laurel always inspired us. She showed us what perseverance could be, what optimism could be, but most importantly what our community could be when we all come together in support of something. … Laurel truly made this world a better place and we hope that we can do our share in keeping this amazing event going.”

When the runners arrived at Washington Park, they were cheered on by bystanders, mostly from The Resource Center.

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano A group from the Brocton Shock Facility pose for a picture after the run with Wayne and Elaine Hotelling.

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas also welcomed the runners and made a proclamation: “I, Wilfred Rosas, by virtue of the authority vested in me as mayor of the City of Dunkirk, do hereby proclaim Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, 2020 as Laurel Memorial Run and Walk Weekend. In our community we are encouraging all citizens to support and celebrate people with developmental disabilities and to remember that those with disabilities can accomplish great things if given the opportunity.”

OBSERVER Photo by Natasha Matteliano Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas and Wayne and Elaine Hotelling pose after the proclamation was made.


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