Mountain State event attracts diverse group of participants
HUNTINGTON -- The Mountain State Centers for Independent Living 5K fun run Saturday had a little bit of everything: runners, walkers, people in motorized wheelchairs and people running with their pets.
Volunteers and staff members of the group which provides skills training for more than 500 West Virginian residents with developmental disabilities held its biggest fundraiser of the year Saturday at Ritter Park. A number of activities were held throughout the day, including a patriotic parade through Huntington's Southside neighborhoods.
"We wanted to make this a community event," said Dee Delancey, vice president of resource development and communications for Mountain State Centers for Independent Living. "We're going to grow. We've already reserved the park for next year and will hold it on July 4."
The group has held a 5K for 11 years now, but this year scheduled a number of other events, including health screenings, fingerprinting for kids, pet adoptions by Little Victories Animal Rescue, music and food sales between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
"It's a beautiful day for racing," said Cal Kent, a Huntington resident. "I try to do at least one 5K per month. I've been running since I was in high school. When you get a day as good as this, you can't pass it up. Also, they're a good organization."
Brenda Harlow of Huntington had never been in a 5K race before, but was among those at the starting line at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"I don't know what time to expect," she said. "I have been practicing. I wanted to do this one because it's for a good cause."
Becky Huff of Huntington planned to get a little help from her dog, Jack, in her 5K.
"I like the dog-friendly part," Huff said. "I just got him in December. I do five or six of these a year, but this is his second."
Yvonne Wilson of Huntington also was looking for a little help from her little dog, Sady.
"She's a fast walker, " Wilson said. "She'll probably be dragging me."
Anne Weeks, Mountain State president and chief executive officer, said the group hoped to raise $15,000 through the activities on Saturday.
Little Victories Animal Rescue, which is housing more than 100 dogs and cats and trying to adopt them out, brought three dogs to Ritter Park Saturday. "We want to find these guys forever homes," said Josh Morrison, Little Victories site manager. "We try to do about one of these (adoption events) a week."
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