Ogden Half Marathon Classic proceeds to aid Laughlin chapel

AIDING LAUGHLIN CHAPEL — Perry Nardo, left, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, and Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic race Director R. “Scat” Scatterday, right, stand with Laughlin Memorial Chapel Executive Director Georgia Kurko and Justin Tucker, 6, of Wheeling. -- Scott McCloskey

WHEELING — Laughlin Memorial Chapel would not be able to support the area’s youth and families through after-school programs without good, dependable transportation — and that’s why the proceeds raised from this year’s Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon Classic will go toward the chapel’s upcoming “Support the Bus” campaign, chapel Executive Director Georgia Kurko said.

The 42nd running of Wheeling’s annual distance race is set to hit the streets on May 26. The 13.1-mile half-marathon run, run relay and walk are the showcase events that morning, with hundreds of participants also taking part in the 5K Run & Walk for Health and the Ogden Fun Run and Tiny Tot Trot.

This will mark the ninth year the Ogden Half Marathon Classic has donated its proceeds to a local charitable cause, with the focus each year to help groups that support children and families.

Since 2010, the race has donated more than $135,000.

Perry Nardo, general manager of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, said partnering with Laughlin Chapel was an easy choice for the Ogden race.

“The Laughlin Chapel always has been an organization whose mission resonates throughout the community,” Nardo said. “We’re all very excited about the opportunity to work with them and help the chapel’s leadership overcome the obstacles they face on a year-to-year basis in providing services to the area’s youth. We hope that by partnering with Laughlin Chapel we are able to bring more visibility to the incredible work the folks there are doing to help our area’s youth and to support local families.”

Kurko said proceeds raised from this year’s event would provide a boost to Laughlin Chapel’s programs and help with mounting costs for the chapel’s bus.

She said the chapel would not be able to provide its youth programs without a bus, which is used to drop youngsters off after they’ve spent time at the chapel and also to ferry them to and from area events.

She said the bus is older and is in need of extensive upgrades, such as the immediate need to replace or re-cover a number of seats on the bus.

“I’m most interested in seeing if we can start a fund with those proceeds to keep our bus in top running order,” Kurko said.

The chapel provides services to hundreds of children each week. Proceeds from this year’s Ogden Race will help boost their efforts to keep the bus in good condition, she said.

“What limits us right now is that we only have one bus operating. So if that bus is being serviced, we really can’t have the program. We have no other way to get kids home. … So that’s why we are trying to start some kind of serious commitment to a bus fund with this generous offer,” she said.

“We provide a haven for kids, a place they can be safe, secure and well taken care of. So what we are offering is our after-school program for them where they come in on our bus or by school bus and have a snack waiting for them.”

Kurko said the nonprofit’s programs, which run Mondays through Thursdays, provide homework assistance for students in individual age groups and a number of fun activities.

She said at the end of the after-school activities the chapel provides dinner around “family style” tables. She said they provide a bus ride home for students requiring one.

Kurko said the chapel’s biggest draw of students come from schools all over Ohio County, including Ritchie and Madison elementary schools and Triadelphia and Wheeling middle schools.

Ogden race Director R. “Scat” Scatterday said it’s because of organizations such as Laughlin Chapel that the Wheeling area is known for being such a kind and caring community.

He said the chapel is hands on with local youth, and people walk away at the end of a day being touched by the services they offer to local families. He said the race is proud and honored to support such an extraordinary agency.

In prior years, the race has supported the J.B. Chambers YMCA; Augusta Levy Learning Center; the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley; the Howard Corcoran Scholarship Fund; Ohio Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Inc.; and the Wheeling FOP’s Shop with a Cop program.

To register for this year’s events, visit ogdenhalfmarathonclassic.com.