Course Map All Time
"Kids of the 5K" Named Volunteers
of the Year
The Wilson kids have been with the race from the very beginning!
Click here for a photo
album of our "Kids of the 5K"
In this the twelfth year of the race, we are naming all the
kids who have volunteered throughout the years as our "Volunteer of the
Year". We have always made kids a priority for the race with reduced
entrance fees for all of our grammar and high school runners. Some of these
kids we are honoring have literally grown up in front of us as they first
arrived (OK maybe kicking and screaming at times) with parents and aunts and
uncles to help handle they myriad back ground tasks that make our race
possible. Today, many of them are in college, and we hope they'll continue
to come back to help us even after they graduate.
While you may not have noticed them, they have been packing
goody bags, folding t-shirts, collecting bibs and chips, marking and
monitoring the course and helping to set-up and clean-up. As they got older
they also helped handle registration and distribution of runners bags and
numbers. Some even went on to run in the race - or even sing the Star
Spangled Banner to start the race.
We don't want to miss anyone, but
Tyler and Emily Gaetano, Sean, Jeff and Colleen Wilson, Chris and Lauren
Pawlowski, Mary Ann and Joey Linebarger, Theresa Curran,
Elise Wardell and Tyler, Brian and Zach
Haywood are regulars. Two of our "Plankholders",
Dave and Joey Stein have been running since grammar school and now are at
Northeastern and BC. Emily Gaetano and Stein were recently congratulated by
Yale Univerity for being selected as "Outstanding Students at Shelton High
School" by the New Haven Register. Emily is now a student at the University
of Alabama, but we think she really captured the spirit of the Commodore
Hull Race in this piece that she wrote as part of her college application:
most kids, Thanksgiving is about getting a couple of days off from school
and gorging themselves on crispy turkey and sweet pumpkin pie. But to me,
Thanksgiving is all about the Commodore Hull 5K road Race. It began in 2002,
when my dad got the idea to have a charity race for the Boys’ and Girls’
Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley. Over a eleven-year span, the race has
donated over $110,000 to the Club, which goes towards funding programs and
building renovations. I am extremely proud to say that I have volunteered
for the race for the past eleven years, and have honestly loved every minute
When the race started twelve years ago, I was only in the second grade.
Although I was young, I helped by folding shirts and handing out good-bags
to the runners. Now that I am older, one of my main duties is helping with
registration and making sure that the runners get their correct number and
timing chip. I am also in charge of teaching the new volunteers how to help.
The race directors know I am responsible and dependable: I have gotten up
every Thanksgiving morning at 6:00 a.m., despite freezing rain and snow, so
that I could be down at the Shelton Farmers’ Market to volunteer for the
race. My family and I have also donated hundreds of hours towards preparing
for the big day.
During its first year, the race had only 300 runners. Today, 750 people,
from places as far away as California and Hong Kong, are part of the race.
It is amazing to see so many people coming together for a fun event which
helps the Boys’ and Girls’ Club. I love volunteering for the race because I
am able to see how my contributions truly benefit the community and help
bring people together. By giving my time and effort, I make it possible for
the race to continue to grow and thrive each year. Even more importantly, I
know that I am helping the Boys’ and Girls’ Club, where many Shelton kids
hang out. It runs after school programs for students and has many
recreational sports leagues for kids and teenagers. The Club is a safe and
welcoming place for kids to spend time, and I am proud to support that.
The race is not finished even after the last runner has crossed the finish
line. I stay for two to three hours after to help clean up the course and
collect the trash. The leftover food is put away and then donated to local
area food banks. I box up extra T-shirts and good bags. Runners’ timing
chips have to be collected and put back in numerical order. Any missing
chips need to be tracked down. So much effort is put into the race, but it
is all worth it.
Besides just volunteering, I also run in the Commodore Hull 5K Road Race.
This combination allows me to appreciate all of the hard work that makes the
race possible, and also enjoy an exhilarating run at 8:00 a.m. on
Thanksgiving morning. I see how all of my volunteering has helped make the
even successful, healthy, and fun for so many Valley families. I love seeing
my high school friends and their families, and knowing that I am part of the
reason that they got to run in the race. I feel like I am a part of the
community and that my actions really can make the world a better place.
And that explains why
Emily and all her friends are our 2013 Volunteers of the Year!
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