■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
Homelessness is a major hot-button topic these days. Some may have put themselves in that situation, but among them are some of the hardest working people in the world. Habitat for Humanity understands this and is always working to help give them a hand up.
To help fund this effort, the local chapter held its 15th annual Walk-Run event at Diamond Valley Lake on Saturday. Thanks to the rains this winter, the lake was looking pretty full and the California poppies were in full bloom. This gave the estimated 700 participants a beautiful sight to take in as they also took in some clean, fresh air.
Dr. Koka and her San Jacinto Urgent Care associates were present, to give back to the community and to encourage those present to keep fit. Both the mayor of Hemet, Linda Krupa, and the mayor of San Jacinto, Scott MIller, were there with several of their council members. And if you looked closely in the crowd, you could even see Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown in his running gear! Hey, someone’s gotta keep the department in shape…
Live entertainment was provided by Crossroads Band, led by Richard Lamb. They played a collection of sounds from the ‘70s as runners laced up, hydrated and ate every apple and muffin the snack table had.
Patsy Ann Svete headed up this year’s marathon, and says 100 percent of the proceeds are going toward building Habitat‘s twenty-first home in the valley. Svelte describes the family they’re building for: “The mom and dad are both working and they have five kids,” and says she’s honored to work for Habitat.
And the folks at Diamond Valley Lake never charge Habitat to hold the event there. Very smart.
Every runner and walker received a participant medallion for their efforts. The following, however, received top prize medals for their winning times:
Sarah Reusch, age 34, 3:25:08
Gabriel Garmendia, 33, 3:08:33
Griselda Cenci, 43, 1:40:59
Sheldon Subith, 61, 1:28:40
Jade Morillo, 15, 0:23:53
Austen Diaz, 11, 0:20:39
Maria Gonzalez, 12, 0:04:46
Stephen Hernandez, 10, 0:04:46
Pat Crowe, 72, 0:05:16
Ronald Caudie, 71, 0:12:22
But the biggest winners today are those who will find new homes as a result. The fundraiser brought in an estimated $40,000 toward giving homes to those who deserve it the most.
The people who gave of their resources to make this event possible include people from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Agri-Empire, both the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto, State Senator Jeff Stone, County Supervisor Chuck Washington, State Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz, Walmart, Stater Bros., both Hemet and San Jacinto unified school districts, the San Gorgonio Girl Scouts, Gosch Auto Group and many other businesses and volunteers.
“I wanted to thank all the volunteers because without them we couldn’t put the event together,” says Svete.
And if you wish to take part in next year’s run or find other ways to help Habitat for Humanity rebuild lives, keep an eye on their website at www.dvlrun.com