Lions raise money with 30th annual "Turkey Trot"

PERU Thirty years ago, John P. Adams, member of the Peru chapter of Lions Club International, initiated the Peru Lions Club Turkey Trot as a means to raise funds to benefit the needy in the community. Two years later, he passed away, and his fellow club members decided to name the event in his memory. This past Thanksgiving was the 30th anniversary of the event. Many in the North Country have made the event as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as their turkey and apple pie. Perhaps they want to work up an appetite for their Thanksgiving dinner, or maybe they want to express their thankfulness by helping raise funds to benefit their community members in need. Whatever the reason, more and more folks have been participating each year. This year, a record 325 people participated despite miserable weather conditions with rain and temperatures hovering in the low 30s. Runners chose from a one-mile fun run, a 5k run and a 10k run. The Peru Intermediate School gymnasium was used for registration and awards, and all races started and ended in the school parking lot. A large number of Peru Lions and Lionesses were on hand to help the event run smoothly, and to make sure there was a steady supply of hot chocolate and coffee, which were in high demand. The Turkey Trot is one of five yearly fundraisers for the Peru Lions Club, which is a philanthropic organization that is all about helping others. "Our main objective is to help the blind and hearing-impaired by purchasing eye glasses and hearing aids for those in our area in need," said Jim McCarty, a member of the Peru Lions since 1969. When there are few requests for help in these areas, the club determines other ways to benefit the community. Last year $3,000 of proceeds from the Turkey Trot went to the CVPH Fitzpatrick Cancer Center. Funds also went to the Peru Central School Senior Scholarship Fund and a Community College Scholarship Fund. Some of the other beneficiaries have been the CVPH Foundation and Peru Boy Scout Troop 49. The Peru Lions Club currently has 48 members and they are always looking for more. The club meets the second and third Thursday evening of each month at the River Bend Restaurant. If you are interested in making a positive impact in your community through involvement in the Lions Club, you can contact Jim McCarty at 643-9775. The Peru Lions Club is just a small part of a much larger picture. Lions Clubs are not only found nationwide, but worldwide, with 44,951 clubs around the globe. Lions Club International is the largest service organization worldwide and has clubs in virtually every country. Interestingly, the Peru Lions Club Turkey Trot is an international event, with some of the regular participants coming from Canada. This year, it was even more international with Sam Chelenga from Nairobi, Kenya, taking first place in the 10k run with a time of 31 minutes and 15 seconds. Mr. Chelenga, a teammate of Perus Josh McDougal who runs for Liberty University, came north to celebrate his second Thanksgiving in the United States. He had never heard of such a thing as a Turkey Trot until a few days before the event. This years event was also more national than usual with the 10k winner on the womens side, Trish Nevro, coming all the way from North Carolina. Miss Nevro was in the area to celebrate Thanksgiving with her fiance, Jason Jabut, the former Seton Catholic running champion who grew up in the Town of Peru. She finished in a time of 39 minutes and 34 seconds. The male 5k winner, another Liberty runner, Jarvis Jelen from Sioux Falls, S.D., also added to the national flavor of the event. Mr. Jelen won in a time of 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Abigail Lajti, a Peru High School distance runner, won the 5k womens race in a time of 22 minutes and 27 seconds. Bob Collier and Sheila Dumont were the winners of the one-mile fun run. More pictures from the event may be found on-line at www.nlrunners.com .

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