Orion Veteran’s Memorial 5K Race

Date: May 29, 2017

Collaboration and coordination

Working with Orion Township supervisor, Chris Barnett, the Orion Veterans memorial group and Bob “FastBob” Busquaert, the Lake Orion DDA put on the very first Orion Veterans Memorial Day 5K race, on Monday May 29, 2017.

The goal of the race was to bring in more participants to the Veterans Memorial Ceremony at 1:30 pm at the Veterans Memorial located on the corner of M-24 and Heights.

Jenny Bhatti, (from Chris Barnett’s office) acted as coordinator. She worked with a couple of high school students to create a logo and flier, which was shared via social media, the Orion Veteran’s memorial website, as well as the DDA website.

FastBob also promoted the race, setting up an on-line registration system which collected less than a hundred runners.

Molly & Pam walked the entire neighborhood days before the race, passing out fliers informing residents about the upcoming race which would be impeding traffic for a few hours the following Monday. Everyone they talked to was incredibly kind and gracious. Next year, these fliers will be mailed out two to three weeks ahead of time.

The morning of the race, Chris and Jenny put out the signs (donated by Powers distributing) which pointed the racers in the right direction.

The day of the race

DDA Executive Director, Molly LaLone, along with Village Clerk Susan Galeczka, DDA Board member, Monica Squarcia and office coordinator, Pam Belding set up registration in the upstairs of Lockhart’s BBQ. They were met by FastBob and his crew, who brought the t-shirts and the computer which held the names of the pre-registered runners who needed to pick up their t-shirt that day. The T-shirts were printed by M&B graphics and sponsored by Sure-guard roofing & Maintenance Co. There was A Bean to Go coffee provided by the Lake Orion DDA during the registration hours of 10 am until 11:45 am.

By the end of registration, there were 192 runners, half again as many as expected!

At the starting line at the intersection of Flint Street and S. Broadway, FastBob & Chris Barnett welcomed all the racers and explained who was involved and the goal behind the event. An Orion Veteran volunteer provided small American flags for those who were racing in memory of a family or loved one. These flags could be carried through-out the entire race, or placed in a Styrofoam platform on a table after leaving M-24, heading onto Heights.

The police and sheriff’s department stopped traffic and directed the racers, starting in front of Hanson’s and going across M-24. They continued guarding the runners and directing traffic through-out the rest of the race, even strategically placing a fire truck at the half-way point. The race continued through the Heights/Fairledge neighborhood, on the south side of Lake Orion, ending up just before the Orion Veterans Memorial on Heights.

A race for everyone!

Although some people ran the entire race, many chose to walk, including families with children and even dogs. People living along the route came out to greet the racers and some even put out signs to cheer them on. 

Hanson’s provided 7 gift cards as awards, while the Township provided everyone who finished the race a large dog tag featuring the logo on the front and the race date on the back. Volunteers handed out goodie bags at the end of the race, filled with a cereal bar, trail mix, water bottle, lotion and a pen, sponsored by Kroger and Nutz about Chocolate. Edward Jones provided another dog tag within the goodie bag, featuring the seals of all branches of the military.

There were vendor tents set up across from the Veterans Memorial, next to Starbuck’s (who also sponsored coffee for the Veteran’s volunteers the day of the race). King of Kings church provided free water bottles; Seniors helping Seniors provided free bananas and Oakland Sports chiropractic did massages.

Adjacent to these vendors was a port-a-john, donated by Turner Sanitation.

The Final Ceremony

There were hundreds of people in attendance for the Final Ceremony put on at the Veterans memorial. It was standing room only on the Memorial property, with people standing across the street next to Starbuck’s, as well as people watching from across M-24 next to Jacobsen’s flowers underneath the massive American Flag which hung from an Orion fire truck across the road.

Everyone involved with the event, especially the Orion Veterans Memorial group was absolutely thrilled with the turn-out and are looking forward to doing it again for years to come.