By Jamie Kempton

It was a night to remember as the Rockland Road Runners club presented its annual awards and also made check presentations totaling $52,000 during the club’s 2013 kickoff meeting on Jan. 9 at the Nanuet Hotel.

The proceeds were generated from the club’s 21st annual Thanksgiving Day 5-Mile Turkey Trot at Rockland Lake. The race attracted 3,183 registered entrants, a record for races held in Rockland County.

Turkey Trot race director David Goldwasser presented a check for $37,500 to the Marisa Fund, of which he is executive director. The fund, named in memory of David’s late daughter, is a charity that benefits children afflicted with cancer and their families. All proceeds support research in pediatric blood and bone marrow transplantation at Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian and the Columbia University Department of Pediatrics.

David also presented a check for $7,000 to People to People Executive Director Diane Serratore. People to People is Rockland’s largest food pantry, providing food and other services to families and seniors in need. A check for $5,000 was given to the Rockland County Police Hispanic Society Scholarship Fund, accepted by President Enrique Pabon and Vice President Elsa Sequinot, and a $2,500 check was presented to club member Dave Cohen, accepting on behalf of the Vasculitis Foundation.

Jesse Hackell is the 2012 recipient of the Don Cordisco Award, the club’s highest honor. Jesse holds a variety of important roles for the club. He is membership chairman, co-coach of the Summer Track Workouts, heads up the children’s runs at club races, has spearheaded the implementation of an online registration and payment system, and has volunteered at our events for more than 20 years. He’s also a prominent pediatrician in Rockland County who has cared for many children of RRR members.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Larry Wolf. Larry stepped down this past year after eight years as director or co-director of the Women’s Distance Festival, which celebrated its 25th year in 2012. Larry has also served as club vice president, was race director for the Rockland Winter Marathon, has volunteered for years at virtually every club race, and is a longtime member of the early-bird, 6 o’clock running crew at Rockland Lake.

JC Santa Teresa is a most deserving honoree of the George Wodicka Inspiration Award. He ran more than 30 marathons in 2012 to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer in memory of his mother, Delta. He volunteered to serve as training coach for Dress Barn’s employee fitness program for runners and walkers, and declined any compensation. Like George Wodicka, he inspires and motivates those around him to keep running and persevere in difficult circumstances. JC is a former RRR president, having served in 2008-2009.

Finally, John and Ann Singer received the Road Runners Club of America National Outstanding Volunteer Award, for which members must have contributed at least 2,000 hours of volunteer service to their club. “Team Singer” did a wonderful job coordinating the “Swifty Sixties” division of the club for members age 60 and older who participated in the New York Road Runners club racing series. They recently stepped down after leading the Swifties for seven years. They’ve also been a club liaison to the NYRR, been good-will ambassadors for the club to countless races in the region, and of course have volunteered for many RRR races over the years.

Congratulations to all the award winners, and thank you for your dedicated service!

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