5K raises $10,000 for LakeWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | email@example.com
Editor’s note: Toledo Free Press will follow the Blank family of Millbury for the next year as they rebuild their lives after the June 5 tornado destroyed their Main Street home.
An event that started out as a way to raise money for Lake Local Schools might become a tradition for the Flyers.
Five hundred people, including Ed and Julie Blank, who lost their home in the June 5 tornado, participated in “Lifting Up Lake 5K Run Walk Crawl” on Sept. 18. The race was hosted by the Northwest Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) at Lake High School.
“This was our first time doing anything like this,” said Angela Wallington Zimmann, president-elect of the Northwest Ohio Executive Committee. “I talked to the Lake School Board and Lake might take this event over and make it an annual event.”
The idea to help Lake came just one day after the tornado.
“We always meet on a Sunday four times per year and this meeting happened to be set for the 6th of June,” Zimmann said. “Someone suggested we do something for Lake and we all agreed. We didn’t want to wait until October when we would meet again, so we had a meeting on July 11 for those who were really interested in doing a fundraiser for Lake.”
David Spridgeon, executive committee member from Arcadia, had been involved in 5Ks in the past. He and those helping thought a 5K would be a great opportunity for people to get together. The planning started immediately.
“I did the initial fundraising. I wanted to get as many $500 sponsors as possible out of the gate,” Zimmann said. “We didn’t want to rely on entry fees. We wanted all of the $20 fees to go to Lake.”
Zimmann said Lake will receive approximately $10,000 once the rest of the bills for the race are paid.
Initially, organizers thought they might get as many as 1,500 participants in the race, but as the event neared, they aimed for 500. They realized too late that Sept. 18 was Harrison Rally Day in Perrysburg. Also, many of those who would be interested in participating, like cross country runners, had tournaments.
“Someone told us you would be lucky if you get 100, but we knew we would get more than that. We were really pleased with turnout, but not totally shocked,” Zimmann said.
Judy Jackson May, regional manager for the 20 counties in the Northwest Ohio OSBA, couldn’t walk or run in the 5K because she was too busy working on registration. She was happy to help Lake.
“Lake is in our region,” she said. “We met and we thought about what we could do to help them. At that time, Lake hadn’t received any funding to rebuild their high school.”
Since then, Lake has settled with insurance agents to rebuild the school. Lake will receive $19.1 million. The money raised at the 5K and upcoming silent auction will now be used at Lake’s discretion, Zimmann said.
May said it would be nice if the money went toward school supplies lost in the tornado.
“You live 20 miles from someone and you never really get to know anyone, but I feel like we have made a lot of new friends, people who are neighbors. It is not about the amount of money, it is about the caring,” May said.