We hosted our 3rd Annual G|H Railroad Run Labor Day 4K this past Monday. It was a seamless event, for the most part…course confusion being the exception. What stands out the most in my mind, was the outpouring of support from some solid individuals who volunteered with no expectation of anything in return, not even lunch!

Our Programming Assistant, Siani, had her entire family at one water station, while she stayed at home base and was there to help out wherever needed. Scott’s (our Treasurer) family could be found at the 2nd water station. Both stations were surrounded with beautiful chalk art too! I think we may have some budding artists on our team. One of my co-workers from the Probation Office, Lissette, along with Brenda, handled walk-up registrations for the 2nd year. Joey held down the pre-registrations while Alex, also one of our Board Members lugged and set-up the step and repeat banner for photos and the award ceremony. Kim, also from the Probation Office, came and helped Pretzel City with timing after putting out all the sponsor signage. Paul, one of our long time volunteers rode his bike in front of the pack of racers to guide the way. As the runners crossed the finish line, they were greeted by myself, John, and Alex as we draped them with custom finisher medals. What a cool feeling to see all the racers up close as they crossed the finish line, but most importantly, choose to support recreation in Berks County on Labor Day, their day off.

We certainly can’t forget Jimmy G. and his crew. Jamie and Adam are incredible to work with between staying up all night smoking the pig for the post-race BBQ to hanging banners for us, then helping us out later with the cleanup. The Railroad House was never open on Labor Day until later in the evening, but for the last few years, Jimmy G. has opened up his establishment and staffed it while welcoming and accommodating us and our guests in every fashion.

While all this is going on, we’ve got 2 Board Members actually running the race. When Christi and Scott crossed the finish line it was hugs from Alex, John, and myself. We are all so proud of one another. Everyone on our team works so well together.  When I say team, I mean all of our volunteers, Board Members, and those of you that just keep showing up. We’re like a big family, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In order to achieve the results we’re striving for, cohesion and collaboration are essential.  We’re going to go ahead and put those on the strength board!  That’s a good thing too, because after all, it takes a village to do what we’re trying to do. No single individual could pull off the events that we’ve done and we felt it was important to share all of that with you. Without our events, there would be no funds, and without funds, well, we’d be doing a lot less. Each one of you have an impact on the Gilmore | Henne Community Fund, and each in your own way. We know who you are, we see you, and we appreciate you. We’re proud of our team and we’re proud of our community for STANDing UP!

So, yes, we did forget to take down one of our water stations on Ruth Street, but again, thanks to two of our volunteers, Justin and Jayme, they carried it to their home and we were able to pick it up the next day. We left our banner at the Railroad House, but hey, it looks good hanging on the deck. Jimmy G. probably likes it there! There was also a bit of course confusion, but we’re going to give it a try for the 4th time and in 2016 we’re going to get it right!

To the 164 participants that came out on Labor Day and ran or walked with us and to the dozens of you that came and supported by watching, including all of our families, words can’t express our gratitude. To all of our sponsors, we appreciate your willingness to support our cause and we promise you that the playgrounds and kids we work with will be better because of it. To those of you that handed us checks in support of G|H totally out of the blue, we thank you for your generosity. Without all of you, without the village, we couldn’t do it…