On September 21, nearly 300 people gathered at the Twin Valley High School in Wilmington to take part in the fifth annual Lt Mark Dooley 5K Race. The annual event is a living tribute to Lt. Mark Dooley, a former Wilmington police officer and Norwich University graduate, who was killed in action while serving in Iraq on September 19, 2005.
On race day, the skies cleared, the sun prevailed, and our fifth annual event was shared with many wonderful people who came together to remember and honor one of our very own fallen heroes. The top finishers for the run were: James Lamoureux of Keene, NH, (17:33) and Jessica Chapman of Bennington (22:26). The top finishers of the walk were: Alan Leake of Bennington (35:53) and Kirra Courchesne of Wilmington (41:00). The complete list of results can be found on the event website.
As a result of this year’s race, nearly $6,000 was raised to benefit the Lt. Mark Dooley Memorial Fund. This fund was established by Mark’s friends at the Wilmington Police Department to ensure that Mark Dooley is remembered for his sacrifice and to create a means for Mark Dooley to continue to have a lasting impact on the community which he once served.
A portion of the race proceeds are set aside each year to pay for a local memorial honoring Mark Dooley, a scholarship is offered each year to a graduating student of the Twin Valley High School in Wilmington, and funds are donated to specially selected causes in Mark Dooley’s name, such as the athletics program at the Twin Valley High School, the Brattleboro Yellow Ribbon Group, and the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation.
A 50/50 raffle was held this year to benefit the Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation, and when the winner was selected they generously opted to allow the full amount of $642 to be donated to the charity.
I want to thank all our race participants, volunteers, and generous sponsors who made this event a special day of honor and remembrance for Mark Dooley and his family. It is important that we pause to remember the sacrifices that so many of our brave service men and women have made for our country.
There are far too many people to thank in this forum, but several deserve special recognition for their contributions to the race: Joe Gerardi and the Brattleboro Yellow Ribbon Group (for their delicious hot breakfast), Welkin Again (for terrific live music), Charles Cahoon of the Taconic Pipe Band (bagpipes), the Twin Valley High School for the use of the facility, Sam Hall, Sarah Shippee (event photographer) the Deerfield Valley Rotary Club, the Windham County Sheriff’s Department, Wilmington police, Dover police, VT State Police, Deerfield Valley Rescue, Andrika Donovan, Em Richards and Robert Stack (in association with BCTV) for their beautiful video about the event, and the TVHS student volunteers and family members who showed up to volunteer at the race. Thank you all very much.
Please visit the event website to learn more about Lt. Mark Dooley, see a complete list of sponsors, race results, photographs (coming soon) and more: www.markdooley5k.com. Please join us in Wilmington every September for the Lt. Mark Dooley 5K Race.
Greg Murano, event organizer