Racers came out in large numbers to honor a group of Chemung County firefighters Sunday. The second annual Hero's Run aims to benefit the Elmira Heights Fire Department. YNN's Crystal Cranmore was there and shows us how the community's support is helping the volunteer service.
ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. -- It was a race to the finish line as dozens of runners dashed through Elmira Heights Sunday. Some were feeling great and excited.
“I finished, so I'm very happy,” said Richard Rich, a participant.
And others racers felt…
“Not good,” said Sierra Naples.
About 80 runners and their family members showed up at the Cinderella Softball Park in support of the second annual Hero's Run. It benefits the Elmira Heights Fire Department. Race organizers say they were inspired by the Heroes Run that spread throughout the nation after 9/11.
“It was time for the department to do this. It really was. There are a lot of things going on in the region and this is another thing to do,” said Bob Mrkus, Elmira Heights Fire Department.
The Elmira Heights Fire Department, a volunteer service, relies on fundraisers to maintain its emergency vehicle fund and pay for medical supplies like defibrillators, stretchers and band aids.
“We're raising money right now to replace our EMS vehicle. We have one now that's a 1993 Chevy Suburban and we have to get a new one because we've been having break down problems with that,” said Mrkus.
Now the community is pulling together and using this race as its way to help out.
"These are the people that protect us. They don't get paid a dime, they have to go out in the middle of the night, they risk their lives. They deserve all the support we can give them," Rich said.
Organizers say they had a larger turnout this year and hope it grows in years to come. And the firefighters are also enjoying the growing support.
“We do fire rescues and people are out there and they are real, genuinely happy to see us in a really bad situation. So I can't say it enough how great is to have people support us like this,” said Mrkus.
“It’s always good to have the community backing us. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here,” said Matt Sabatini, Elmira Heights Fire Chief.