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Permanent Firefighters president impressed with turnout at Walk/Run to Remember


MASSENA - More than 80 people took part in Sunday morning’s third annual 9/11 Walk/Run to Remember bringing in plenty of money to help the Massena Permanent Firefighters garner hundreds of extra fire safety products for the community.

Two years ago, on the 10th anniversary of the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, Permanent Firefighters Union President Aaron Hardy led the group in coming up with the idea for the event. They wanted to “bring the community together and not forget the events of 9/11,” Mr. Hardy said.

He said he was pleased with this year’s event. “We had a great turnout and the weather was absolutely perfect for us. Close to 90 people were in the event. Our overall winner was James Francia, and his finish time was 22:19. He’s training to run a half-marathon, and he’s a really good guy,” Mr. Hardy added.

The event began as more of a remembrance of 9/11 and has turned into more of a fundraising event in the last two years.

The race featured an extensive group of 43 sponsors, a group that Mr. Hardy was thrilled with. He gives much of the credit to the various sponsors for the availability of the fire safety equipment.

“We’ve got hundreds of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors that will be available to the community and that’s thanks to our sponsorships,” he said. “We had an amazing turnout this year with our sponsors.”

It was announced by Pepsi (Cola) Ogdensburg Bottlers, who does the start/finish line, that next year’s race will be held on Sept. 7.

Mr. Hardy was impressed with the diverse group of participants on Sunday. He said that while most of the athletes were from the north country, there was also the usual handful from Canada.

Additionally, the age range for the competitors was 9 years old to 81 years old.

“We had families out there, people pushing strollers out there. It was really an eclectic group for the event,” Mr. Hardy said. “I just really want to emphasize thanking the participants and sponsors for coming to our event. We hold this event for the community. I thank everyone who turned out for it and hope to see them again next year.”

Winners in each age group included: Madee Derouchie (19 and under division), Mr. Francia and Nicole Hayes (male and female 20-29 year old division), Michael Matejcik and Amy Hollister (30-39 year old division), Dana Paduano and Jenny Lashomb (40-49 division), Joe Labarr and Rachelle Hayes (50-59 division), Richard Hazel and Jean Miller (60-69 division), and Hugh Wilson (70 and over division).

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