HOWELL — The ninth annual 5K Run and Race Walk in support of a crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at Howell High School, Squankum-Yellowbrook Road.
The evening event will include an opening ceremony, the 5K Run and Race Walk and an awards ceremony. Guests expected to speak include the parents of individuals who have lost their lives, volunteers from the CONTACT of Ocean and Monmouth Counties crisis center and organizers of the event.
Awards will be presented to the 5K run winning male and female; to the winners in several age groups; and to the 5K walk winning male and female.
When Pete Bruno of Howell, who serves as president of the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education, took charge of the event five years ago, he teamed up with Howell High School alumni Shane Reitsma, who lost his uncle, Walter.
Bruno, who previously worked at Howell High School, said he wanted to commemorate other alumni of the school who have passed away by hosting the race in their memory.
Whether individuals have died in an accident, or from substance abuse or suicide, Bruno wanted to honor them. This year’s event will be held in the name of William Bruno, Jake Bukowiec, John Bukowiec Jr., Jared Crippen, Kevin Glass, Brian McDonough, Bubba O’Reilly, Walter Reitsma and Naneisha Rivera.
Two individuals who passed away within the year and drew special mention from Bruno are Glass, who was a help to the race in the past, and Bruno’s brother, Bill Bruno, a teacher, coach and athletic administrator. He said both men were “amazing people.”
After the event moved from a previous location to Howell High School, more students began signing up to participate in the race, including athletes and family members who had a relationship with individuals who have passed away.
More than 200 people participated in 2021 and Bruno is hoping to surpass 250 participants on Aug. 24.
“It’s a good night for all who come to race or even just to watch. I am so proud of the community to have us support the families who have lost someone they love. It felt great to help others and to encourage people throughout this process,” Bruno said.
For information about registration fees and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.contactoceanmonmouth.org/events
For additional information, call 732-240-6104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All money that is raised through registration fees and sponsorships will be donated to the CONTACT of Ocean and Monmouth Counties crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline.
According to the website contactoceanmonmouth.org, CONTACT is “people helping people” and is “here for anyone who is in trouble, lonely, depressed and suicidal, or someone who just needs a person to listen to them. Volunteers are as close as the telephone 24 hours each day of the year, to listen and respond to the lonely, hurting people of our community.”
All calls to the crisis helpline are kept confidential. According to the website, “The empathy the caller receives helps them feel understood and enables them to take action on their own behalf.” The crisis helpline may be reached at 732-240-6100 or 609-693-5834.