City of Dunkirk to host victory celebration
Dunkirk Mayor Willie Rosas reads a Laurel Run proclamation to Laurel Hotelling and her parents, Wayne and Elaine, during last year’s victory celebration.
By Mark Stevens
For the 11th year in a row, the city of Dunkirk will roll out its welcome mat for the Laurel Run Flag Relay victory celebration in Washington Park on Friday, July 14, from noon to 2:00.
For the relay, representatives of area school districts, the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility and The Resource Center take turns transporting Laurel Run flags from Jamestown to Dunkirk. The volunteers run to show support for people with disabilities and Laurel Run’s message that those with disabilities can accomplish great things, if given an opportunity. City officials support that mission.
“The Hotelling family, The Resource Center and Filling the Gap work hard to provide the skills/tools for these individuals to obtain this goal,” said Carol Oliveira, the secretary in the mayor’s office.
The end of the relay is marked by a celebration, with a crowd of cheering onlookers welcoming the last group of runners. The city has sponsored the victory celebration to show appreciation to the runners who participate in the relay. The event is a big hit with people at The Resource Center, as dozens of people with disabilities and their support staff attend the victory celebration each year.
The mayor’s office first held the reception in front of City Hall in 2006. In 2010, the celebration moved to Washington Park to accommodate the growing number of attendees. Organizers found that the park simply had more room as well as a gazebo for Dan Palmer from WDOE, who provides a live radio remote broadcast.
G&E Tents provides the use of a tent free of charge, while the city provides a police escort for the runners from the city line to Washington Park. The Parks Department provides the picnic tables and trash cans. For the last several years, the city has served pizza, cookies or brownies, fruit, and water.
“Mayor Willie Rosas and I do support the Laurel Run and The Resource Center wholeheartedly with their mission,” said Carol, “and for their unending work to create better and more meaningful lives for individuals with disabilities.”
The last set of runners should arrive at Washington Park at about 1:15. Laurel Run organizers invite the community to come to the victory celebration to greet the runners.