June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Running in remembrance of Drew Guyer, 13

The Friends of Black River will host its second Annual S.O.S. 5K and Mile Fun Run later this month, but instead of raising money to help the schools, this time the group hopes to benefit a budding soccer and basketball star.

And it’s all in remembrance of Drew Guyer.

Thirteen-year-old Drew was a student at McCormick Middle School in Wellington, in Lorain County, when he died suddenly just before Christmas. He was participating in an open gym when he collapsed and succumbed to a cardiac issue.

Drew Guyer

Drew Guyer

While Drew did not attend the Black River Schools, the districts are so close and so intermingled, his life and his death impacted residents in both communities, according to Angela Dudziak, the 5K Race coordinator.

“The first race was held to try to get the school levy passed last year,” Dudziak said. “It passed in May. The levy committee decided we should continue to hold one event a year to keep money in the coffers for future levy campaigns, and it was decided the 5K was the best way to keep it going.”

But the committee didn’t just want to raise money and squirrel it away.

“We wanted to give back to the community as well,” she said. “We thought about what we could do, and this year, hands down, we knew we wanted to do something to benefit Drew Guyer. So many people knew him.”

“Our kids mix with their kids,” said Al Young, committee co-chair and Black River head football coach. “Our towns are so close. Our districts border one another. So many people here have Wellington ties. We wanted to give back to some of these surrounding communities.”

Because Drew enjoyed soccer and basketball and dreamed of one day playing basketball at University of Kansas, the group decided proceeds from the race would go to sponsor a girl and a boy who wanted to play youth soccer or basketball. Last year, the 100 race participants generated $1,500. This year, the group hopes to up the number of runners and the proceeds.

This year the event will feature door-prize raffles for all race participants, as well as basket raffles. There will be a drawing held for a soccer-themed and a basketball-themed basket at the end of the event. The Black River Middle School Pirates for Change organization is largely responsible for donating gifts that are part of the basketball basket, as well as the Student Leaders group. Numerous students will also be volunteering on the day of the event.

“I’m just amazed that kids that age have done so much,” Dudziak said.

Despite the record-setting cold weather as of late, the committee is hoping for a good turn-out March 22.

“We were lucky last year that people did come out and brave the elements,” Young said. “Our turnout was outstanding. I hope it works out that way again. We feel good about doing something to help others.”

The Mile Fun Run begins at 9 a.m. with the 5K to immediately follow. The run will be an out-and-back through the scenic Amish countryside. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Grace Brethren Church located at 8992 Firestone Road, Homerville.

Anyone or any business wanting to donate raffle items, help sponsor the event or make a monetary donation can contact Diana McCourt at dlmccourt62@gmail.com or 419-651-3757.

Members of the Black River SOS 5K Committee include: Ken Homoki, assistant football coach; Adam Laskos, head cross country coach; Diana McCourt, local business owner and parent; Dudziak and Young.

Contact reporter Christina Jolliffe at (440) 329-7155 or ctnews@chroniclet.com.