Racing for a great cause.
Bay Ridge played host to the annual 5K run in support of the Semper Fi Fund during Memorial Day weekend.
Now in its sixth year, the fundraiser and daylong event, held on Saturday, May 27, was another success as the community showed up for a noble cause.
“I had a lot of support from my family and friends and community members. I was concerned about it being Memorial Day,” said Bay Ridge resident and organizer Cathie Gearity. “I felt like there would be fewer runners because everyone goes away, but it turned out we had over 140 runners.”
Gearity was also impressed by the donations. “I don’t know the exact dollar we raised, but it was roughly $6,000 that goes directly to the Semper Fi Fund,” she said, adding why the cause means so much to her. “My brother is a retired lieutenant general in the Marine Corps, fighting in different wars for 40 years. I feel very passionate about the Marines, also being a nurse and knowing how losing limbs affects the veteran and the person.”
In wake of the recent Manchester attack, Gearity made sure there were extra precautions for this year’s race. “I called a friend from the counter-terrorism team and they swept everything before the run to make sure everything was safe,” she said. “The 68th Precinct did a fabulous job making sure everything was safe and they had their eyes and ears on everything and that was reassuring.”
Gearity’s brother, retired Lieutenant General John Toolan, was the speaker. “He was recognized by the community and was also a grand marshal of the Memorial Day Parade. He’s very passionate [about the military].”
Gearity is very pleased with how the tradition has grown. “I started this by myself with the support of the Semper Fi fund, but as it has grown, community people have become more actively involved in it and I think it’s wonderful that the tradition continues,” she said. “I’m very passionate about the military and I think doing this does a great deal for the community, makes them aware of the sacrifices members of the military make for us.”
“It was another great turnout and successful run to support our injured soldiers and their families,” said John Quaglione, spokesperson for State Senator Marty Golden. “There is nothing more important than helping those who have fought to defend our freedoms and liberties.”