On one of the nicest days so far this spring, more than 200 people, many of them Macomb-Oakland Regional Center staff members and their families, walked or ran in a 5K race to raise money for dental care for people with disabilities.
The event was held at the 1,276-acre Independence Oaks County Park in Oakland County near Clarkston on Saturday, May 10.
The 5K or 3.1-mile trek began at 10 a.m. Kody Coulter of Lapeer finished first in the 5k run in 18:07 minutes; Matt Springer was second and Joe Lasceski was third.
The top finisher in the women’s group was Eva Chmielewski, 15, of Columbiaville in a time of 22:10 minutes. Sommer Schons was second and Morgan Turk, both of Lapeer, was third.
It was the third annual MORC Miles for Smiles race. Last year, some $1,200 was raised in raffle ticket sales alone and $6,500 was donated for dental care.
Preliminary figures show some $8,100 was raised to help defray the costs of dental care to those whom MORC serves, said Jennifer Lasceski, a Human Resources Generalist. Final totals were not immediately available.
“To all the runners, walkers, volunteers, consumers and staff -- we can’t thank you enough!” Kerri Pfaffenberger wrote on MORC’s Facebook page. “Today was wonderful. Everything went smooth and the weather was great.”
The raffle baskets were a huge success again, raising about $2,000 in ticket sales alone. Raffle items included gift certificates for chiropractic services, concert tickets, a wine basket and gift certificates for area restaurants.
“It was so heart-warming to see so many join us to help provide brighter smiles for those served by MORC,” said Futures Foundation Executive Director Teri Donaldson, who participated in the race and was a member of the race committee.
Other committee members included Lasceski, Pfaffenberger, Bonnie Mazzei, Alicia Bianchette, and Megan Behnke.
“I thought it was an awesome event and it was a great turnout for a great cause,” said Bianchette, a supports coordinator at Clinton Township.
“It was enjoyable to be walking my dogs, Mo and Joe, in the company of co-workers on a gorgeous day in a beautiful park,” said Jane Guy, who works in the Health Information Management Department.
Staff members who sold tickets at the Auburn Hills Office included clerks Jane Corbin and Carol Rowland, receptionist Joyce Gracey, support coordinator Bonnie Mazzei, and Pfaffenberger of Speech Therapy Services.
Sellers of the $30 tickets at the Clinton Township office were Human Resources Generalist Jennifer Lasceski and Donaldson.
Kristina Jankowsky of the Waiver Program, Kevin Cox and Vlad Cara of the Maintenance Department were among the volunteers who were stationed along the route to help guide the walkers/runners to the finish line.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence/advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586-263-8950.