Step by step
Voices of Hope holds first 5K for recovery
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.
Racers start the Voices of Hope One Step at a Time 5K Saturday in Perryville.
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.
Recovery supporters gather at Perryville Park Saturday for Voices of Hope’s first 5K race.
A runner celebrates as she crosses the finish line Saturday.