Step by step

Voices of Hope holds first 5K for re­cov­ery

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com By CH­ERYL MATTIX

PERRYVILLE — Laugh­ter, mu­sic and con­ver­sa­tion filled the air at Perryville Town Park Satur­day af­ter­noon as 115 run­ners and walk­ers pre­pared for the first Voices of Hope One Step at a Time 5K race.

“I’m very ex­cited with the sup­port to­day,” Voices of Hope Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Chelsea Dueitt said.

The goal of the race was to bring aware­ness to re­cov­ery and change pub­lic per­cep­tion of ad­dic­tion and re­cov­ery. All the funds raised Satur­day will also go to­ward ex­pand­ing the Voices of Hope’s pro­grams and goals, Dueitt said.

Those in re­cov­ery were joined by friends, fam­ily and com­mu­nity lead­ers on Satur­day, in­clud­ing

Perryville Mayor Jim Eber­hardt and lawyer and soonto-be judge Will Davis of Elk­ton.

“This is a great event,” Eber­hardt said.

A ma­jor­ity of the participants joined the ef­fort to show gen­eral sup­port for those in re­cov­ery – not just a spe­cific per­son. Al­though, VOH set aside an area for peo­ple to hang photos of someone lost to the dis­ease.

The event was held at the Bate­man Pav­il­lion in Perryville Park over­look­ing the wa­ter. Blue Chee­tah sports tim­ing of­fi­ci­ated the race, which at­tracted lo­cal and re­gional run­ners.

Duane Christy of Havre de Grace came in first Satur­day as he com­pleted his sec­ond 5K of the day.

Nate Chirn­side, for­merly of Ce­cil County, came in sec­ond place and Ge­orge Ra­ley of Ris­ing Sun fin­ished third.

Amy Smythe of Elk­ton, was the first woman to cross the fin­ish line in fourth place with a time of 25:34.

Voices of Hope Ce­cil County was or­ga­nized just a cou­ple years ago to lend sup­port for those seek­ing re­cov­ery or try­ing to sus­tain their re­cov­ery.

“We got our 501(c)(3) sta­tus about six months ago and we’ve hired a busi­ness de­vel­oper to help with pro­grams,” VOH Trea­surer Rose Hol­len­baugh said Satur­day.

Dueitt, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, ex­plained that the busi­ness de­vel­oper will help the group get grants and aide them in de­vel­op­ing pro­gram­ing for the re­cov­ery com­mu­nity.

“Our ultimate goal is to find a build­ing we can use for pro­grams, meet­ings and events – some­thing that could be open 24-hours for those in need,” Dueitt said.

In the mean­time, VOH is fo­cus­ing on four main ar­eas of pro­grams for the re­cov­ery com­mu­nity: em- ploy­ment part­ner­ships, equal op­por­tu­nity hous­ing, jail men­tor­ing and a personal fi­nance guide to help those in re­cov­ery re­turn to the com­mu­nity.

“We’ve had great sup­port from elected of­fi­cials so far,” Hol­len­baugh said. “We hope to change the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of re­cov­ery through ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach.”

VOH Board of Di­rec­tors Chair­man Richard Rafftery said the 5K race will be­come an an­nual event, but promised to have it in the morn­ing next year when it’s not so hot.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Rac­ers start the Voices of Hope One Step at a Time 5K Satur­day in Perryville.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Duane Christy, Nate Chirn­side and Ge­orge Ra­ley fin­ished first, sec­ond and third in the Voices of Hope One Step at a Time 5K race on Satur­day.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Re­cov­ery sup­port­ers gather at Perryville Park Satur­day for Voices of Hope’s first 5K race.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

A run­ner cel­e­brates as she crosses the fin­ish line Satur­day.

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