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The Times
  • HARC festival raises disability awareness

  • Shortly after crossing the finish line for the third annual Heart and Sole Awareness 5K Run, the executive director for the Herkimer Area Resource Center summed up his run in one word.

    “Energizing,” said Kevin Crosley.

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  • Shortly after crossing the finish line for the third annual Heart and Sole Awareness 5K Run, the executive director for the Herkimer Area Resource Center summed up his run in one word.
    “Energizing,” said Kevin Crosley.
    The HARC’s run, A Walk in My Shoes — Disability Awareness Walk and the Life is Beautiful Festival were all combined into one event this year. All proceeds from the events benefit unfunded and underfunded programs at HARC, including its self-advocacy group, guardianship and spirituality.
    “The whole concept of the festival is to create awareness of people with disabilities in the community and the contributions they make to the area,” said Crosley.
    According to a news release, the HARC is a partnership of persons who have developmental or other disabilities, along with others in need of services, and their families, staff, volunteers and members. They provide work and life goals and give care to 700 participants in day programs, health services, residential, recreational and respite services, senior center, family support, Valley Commons, Career Connections, the Goodwill-HARC Store and Donation Center, Herkimer Industries and transportation.
    John Scarano, the grand marshal for the walk, said he has become more familiar with the organization since the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce moved its offices into the HARC Business Park, at 420 E. German St., Herkimer.
    “I realize more and more how special their consumers are,” said Scarano, who is the executive director of the Chambe. “HARC mainstreams these people so they can have a quality life.”
    Walkers were encouraged to get pledges to help the HARC. Scarano set the lofty goal to raise $1,000 for the walk — or, as he said, to raise a grand as the grand marshal. He said he hoped to present a check to the HARC on either Monday or Tuesday.
    “These are special people and a special organization. They do great things for the community,” he said.
    Each walker was also eligible to win a family four-pack to Enchanted Forest Water Safari. Prizes were awarded to runners who topped their category, including best overall runner and the top three male runners and top three female runners.
    Live entertainment was scheduled for Saturday afternoon as part of the festival.
    There were also food and beer concessions, and children’s activities.
    Assemblyman Marc Butler said he and his wife, Sue, were co-chairs for the festival. “It’s a wonderful organization and they do great, great things,” he said. “We’re glad to be a part of it.”
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