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Second annual Glory in our Hearts 5K takes place Saturday


MASSENA - Members of the Massena community and beyond will get an early start to their weekend Saturday morning, exercising their way through a 5k to honor the memory of a woman who touched many lives in the area.

The second annual Glory in our Hearts 5k walk/run will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Robert Moses State Park picnic area on Barnhart Island.

The event is held to honor the memory of Massena resident Glory Rufa, who worked for the Massena Housing Authority and was heavily involved in a number of other local organizations.

Ms. Rufa passed away in 2011 from undetected heart disease at the age of 52.

“Some of the children started the (Glory in our Hearts Foundation), and the race is used to help out with fundraising for the various events throughout the year,” race director Natalie Rufa said. “Anyone can participate in the event and anyone can register. At this point, since we’re only a couple of days out, the best way is to register online. They can also register on race day.”

The registration fee for this weekend’s race is $20.

The Glory in our Hearts Foundation, which was founded in August 2012, is active in the community throughout the year, aiming to continue the tireless work ethic and legacy of Ms. Rufa.

Ms. Rufa’s four children, as well as many others, have been instrumental in the ongoing success of the foundation. The group held a heart health awareness campaign in February, they do a backpack drive for underprivileged students in Massena each year and they award one scholarship for both a young man and young woman to attend one-week of the Diocese of Ogdensburg Camp Guggenheim among other causes.

“This year we’re hoping to do a $1,000 scholarship for the Massena Central High School for someone going into the medical field or social work or other helping kind of field,” Natalie said.

“My siblings and I established the foundation because my mother did a lot of good deeds for the community of Massena. She affected many different people in many different aspects, and we wanted to keep her memory alive even after she passed on,” Jonathon Rufa added. “We use the money from the 5k for different outreach activities. We use it for Camp Guggenheim, for the backpack program for underprivileged students at Massena Central, etc.”

Following Saturday’s race, there will be a raffle with numerous prizes being offered, as well as a bevy of refreshments and snacks.

Both Natalie and Jonathon were impressed with last year’s turnout for the race but feel that there is always room for improvement.

“We had about 137 people last year so we are hoping to have that much or more for this year,” Natalie said. “Glory was a wonderful woman who did a lot for the community.”

“I’m hoping to have more people, and we’ve done a much better job in making media connections. It would be great to have about 100 more than last year,” Jonathon added. “I want to thank anybody who has attended the race or who has donated in some capacity to keep Glory’s memory alive.”

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