Gold Key’s Tunnel to Towers 5K was a great success

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To the Editor:

What a day we had in Gold Key on Sunday, Sept. 10! Our 5K to support the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was a tremendous success, with 147 runners and walkers, many of our local volunteer firefighters and countless spectators. We had a big presence from the Dingman Township Volunteer Fire Department who positioned a truck at the starting line as well as at the finish line where they displayed a huge American flag from the ladder. The Blooming Grove Fire Department also participated and brought their brush truck to display at the finish.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was started shortly after 9/11 by the family of Stephen Siller, a New York City Firefighter who tragically lost his life along with 342 of his FDNY brothers that fateful day. Upon hearing of the events at the World Trade Center that day, Stephen who was off duty attempted to get to Manhattan to help. When he encountered the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel closed to traffic he strapped on all his gear and ran from the Tunnel to the Towers. The Foundation set up in his name has followed in Stephen’s footsteps year after year with a 5K series, both in New York City and many events around the country and world, to raise funds to benefit our nation’s first responders and service men and women. They have helped the families of fallen first responders around the country financially, assisted in relief efforts after Superstorm Sandy, as well as recently with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as funding the Building for America’s Bravest program which builds smart homes for our most catastrophically injured service men and women.

Our opening ceremonies were led by the Gold Key Board President, Francis Ruggiero, and began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem sung by Ruth Hadley. We then heard from Liz Curtis of the T2T Foundation, followed by Tom Delpino, retired FDNY, who explained to us the importance of remembering the events of Sept. 11. Our next speaker was Fred McNeely who survived the attack on the Twin Towers and explained to us some of the horrors of being there, as well as the sight of all of the first responders who were running INTO those buildings as so many others were desperately trying to get out.

A brief moment of silence to remember those lost was ended with a haunting rendition of taps played by Chad Feakins in the distance. It was an emotional and meaningful moment to all present.

We then headed to the start line where the runners and walkers were led by a motorcycle escort by veterans from the American Legion Post from Milford. There were several firefighters who completed the course in their turnout gear, as well as carried large American flags for the entire 3.1 miles. It was quite a beautiful sight.

The Gold Key Adult Lounge was converted into a Sept. 11 Reflection Room by Gold Key’s own Brianne Binelli, who outdid herself with a poignant and respectful display. The room contained artifacts from Ground Zero, books, many photos and a heart wrenching video of images played to patriotic music. Everyone who entered the room was moved by the tribute created by Brianne.

The day was both meaningful and enjoyable to all who were present. All who remained after the event were treated to a barbeque provided by the Volunteers and musical entertainment by Larry Martone. It was a beautiful day to enjoy all Gold Key has to offer.

The day would not have been possible without the generous support of sponsors, Gold Key Country Club, Royal Buick GMC, Main Line Fertility, Dingmans Medical, Orange Regional, Koberlein Environmental, the High Family, Brianne Binelli, Pike County Motors, PCLP, Edge Grinding Shop, Culligan, The Dispatch, Lorraine Gregory, Rob and Mary Balton, Bottini Fuel, Judith Hadley, Milford Diner, Pike County Generators, Lakeview Plaza Deli, Jake’s Wayback Burgers, Barbara Hauser, Pete’s Pizza, Jorgenson’s at the Dimmick, Ameriprise, Ray N Charles, Total Recreation RV, R.C. Lain, Inc., American Legion Aux Post 311, 739 Chiropractic Care Center, Knights of Columbus Council #9832, Hartey Chiropractic, P.C., Aaron’s, Pike County Taxi, Inc., Dye Hard Salon, LLC, Middletown Police Benevolent Association, Mad Dog Liquor, RISE Brewing Co., Staples and Larry Martone.

Gift certificates were given as door prizes to any first responders who were present which were generously donated by the Hotel Fauchere, Rudy’s Yogurt Café, Flagship Cinemas, Perkins, Good Time Pizza, The Grill, Apple Valley Restaurant, Balch’s Restaurant, Buzz Cutz Salon, Alice’s Wonderland, Wrenches Automotive, Ryan’s Deli, Combined Energy Services, Olive Garden, Weiss and Price Chopper.

Thank you also to the tireless efforts of the 5K Committee, Brianne Binelli, John and Betty High, Roy Romano, Betsy Bodenburg, Deb Ackerman, Larry Sheets, Dan Hadley, Karen Van Duzer and Michelle Walters, as well as volunteers, Stacy Lore, Dawn Fitzgerald, Lois Miranda and Sandy Lore and countless others who all helped make the event the success that it was. We have exceptional volunteers here in Gold Key!

Now mark your calendars for next year, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, where our goal is 343 runners/walkers!

Lee Romano

Volunteer Race Director

Tunnel 2 Towers

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