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Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Not just a Walk-a-Thon

Students stride forward to help Senior Center

Express Staff Writer

The annual walking fundraiser at the Wood River Middle School track, held Saturday. April 24, raised $14, 135 for the Blaine County Senior Connection. One-sixth- grader, the multi-talented Chaz Anderson, walked 25 miles and raised a whopping $938.

What had been referred to in the past as the Walk-a-Thon was revamped this year by the Blaine County School Districtís Community Relations coordinator Kate Lombardi. First, she renamed the event Walking Forward to encourage a positive event with continuity.

"I really wanted it presented as an event where the community and schools were working together to achieve a common goal," Lombardi said.

There was a poster contest held that was won by WRMS sixth-grader Nicole Gillette. And as always Lombardi made sure there was food and refreshments, and that the Old Time Fiddlers played to help create a lively atmosphere.

"When I came on, my focus was to make it into a more marketable and identified community event," Lombardi explained. "This year we had people and families from all over the valley participating. At least 70 students were on the track at one time, which was pretty impressive for a cold Saturday morning."

Along with several folks from the Senior Center, Blaine County School District Superintendent Jim Lewis was at the WRMS on Friday, May 21, when the check was handed over.

When asked if he had lost weight while walking, Anderson said. "Nope. I gained weight." How so? "Muscle!" he exclaimed proudly.

He presented the check to Brenda Shapee, director of the Senior Connection. She, in turn, made him an honorary senior, and then bestowed the same honor to Lombardi, who is leaving the district this month and moving to Boise.

"This kid is incredible," Lombardi said of Anderson. Indeed, Anderson won the stock division of the Soap Box Derby last weekend, as well.

Overall, WRMS earned more than $8,500, with the seventh grade Blue Team raising $3,639 and the sixth grade Gold Team raising $3,523. Bellevue Elementary earned almost $50. The Wood River High School earned money throughout the year to donate to Meals and Wheels. Hemingway Elementary raised over $1,600 and Hailey Elementary donated $1,000 for a Math-a-Thon fund. The Carey School raised almost $500.

"The Middle School takes this event and runs with it," Lombardi said. "They usually have class competitions to get kids really into the project and boy they did this year. We would not have been half as successful if it hadn't been for them."

All other donations were from mailers and people throughout the community. Ed Sinnot, of Clearwater Landscaping, donated a landscaping makeover for the Senior Center, All Seasons donated landscaping as well, and a family donated a much-needed desk to the center.

"When we started this thing in 2000 we made less money than Chaz did on his own this year," Lewis said at the ceremony.

When the Blaine County Senior Center in Hailey was renamed last year to the Blaine County Senior Connection, it was due to a desire to be a part of the whole community.

It looks like the strategy is working.


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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.