Today, at exactly 7:00 a.m., with three of the four lanes on the northbound span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge closed, 189 men and women from several neighboring states embarked on a 5k run across the bridge. The overall winner was Joe Grasso of Penns Grove, N.J. (photo by James Salmon, DRBA is attached)
“Like last year, I’m thoroughly impressed with the meticulous planning, coordination and cooperation, and significant volunteer support that made today’s event so successful,” said Tom Cook, Executive Director of the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA). “The bridge run is a win-win, bucket list type of event – participants get a chance to walk or run on the iconic Delaware Memorial Bridge and the Authority is able to help such a worthy and special community organization raise money to further their mission goals; but everyone knows that the real winners are the beneficiaries of Special Olympics Delaware.”
More than $34,500 was raised for Special Olympics Delaware, a nonprofit that provides sports training and competition opportunities for more than 4,200 children and adults with intellectual disabilities. For some of the runners, it was an opportunity to support an event that raises money for the very cause that has given so much to their own family.
“Special Olympics has been a vital part of our family’s life for over 15 years,” said Kim Bates, who ran the span for the first time and has a son who participates year-round in the program. “Special Olympics has provided Justin with incredible opportunities through sports, camps and attending the 2018 USA Games in Seattle. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of the community, especially our first responders who ran today to promote acceptance for Special Olympics Delaware athletes.”
In addition to the outpouring of support from the DRBA, key contributors to the event included presenting sponsor M&T Bank, Delaware Law Enforcement for Special Olympics, Delaware National Guard, Larkins Bus Services, Emergency Medical Service, and a host of law enforcement and fire officials from several agencies across the First State who volunteered to ensure the safety of all involved.
“This second Bridge Run could never have happened without the complete support of the DRBA, M&T Bank and many other individuals,” said Ann Grunert, Executive Director of Special Olympics Delaware. “Their efforts as a collective group not only made this event a success, but helped us achieve our goals of creating awareness of the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, raising funds to reach more athletes, and providing the first responders of our community with the exclusive opportunity to be part of this unique event.”
Like the inaugural event a year ago, this second event on the bridge was limited to active and retired first responders.
“It was an honor to work with all the volunteers who made this unique run such a success,” Col. Richard Arroyo, chief of the DRBA Police, said. “I want to thank our commissioners, Executive Director Tom Cook and his senior staff for permitting this event to take place. Special Olympics Delaware is a great organization and this event will benefit thousands of people with intellectual disabilities.”