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Silver Creek student wins Laurel Run logo contest

June 29, 2021

Ellie Decker of Silver Creek High School was the winner of the competition to design the logo for the 2021 Laurel Memorial Run and Walk.

Each year, the Laurel Run Planning Committee holds a contest among area high school students to design the Laurel Run logo.  Internal voting at The Resource Center and Filling the Gap determines the finalists, and those designs are then featured on the Observer’s web site so people can vote online for their favorite.

Ellie’s design received the most votes in the internal voting and the online voting.   Her design will appear on this year’s Laurel Memorial Run & Walk T-shirts and other promotional materials.  For winning the competition, Ellie will receive a $100 gift card.

The 25th annual Laurel Memorial Run and Walk begins Friday, July 16, with the traditional Jamestown-to-Dunkirk relay run, which features representatives from area schools running the different legs of the relay.   The event begins at about 8:30 at McCrea Point Park on Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown and ends at The Resource Center’s facility at 186 Lake Shore Drive West, where the City of Dunkirk will host a victory celebration from 12:30 to 2:00.

The following morning in Silver Creek, there will be an 8-kilometer run, a 5k fitness walk, a 1k fun walk, children’s runs and Laurel’s Legacy Lap, in which anyone with a disability is invited to talk a lap around the track at the ballfield downtown.

Laurel Run was created by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling in honor of their oldest daughter.  The event is designed to celebrate the achievements of people with disabilities.  Money raised through Laurel Run goes to Filling the Gap, which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.

For more information or to sign up to participate in Laurel Run, phone 934-3952 or 661-4735, or visit www.laurel-run.com.

Kwik Fill raising money for Laurel Memorial Run/Walk

June 29, 2021

Area residents can show their support for people with disabilities by buying a special card at Kwik Fill.

Event co-founders Elaine and Wayne Hotelling buy some “I proudly support the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk” cards at the Kwik Fill on Routes 5 and 20 in Irving. Looking on is Stacy Blakemore, Store Manager

Through July 18, United Refining Company’s Kwik Fill and Red Apple Food Mart locations will be selling paper cards to raise money for the 25th annual Laurel Memorial Run and Walk.  This is the 18th year that Laurel Run/Walk organizers have partnered with United Refining.

The cards will be sold at participating locations in Chautauqua and Erie counties in New York, and in Warren County, PA.  Customers who buy a card can write their name on it and have it displayed in the store.  The suggested contribution is $1, but donations of any amount are appreciated.  Donation containers also will be set up in some locations, and people can put money in the containers if they’d prefer not to write their name on a card.

All of the money raised in Chautauqua County will go to Filling the Gap, which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  Money raised in Erie and Warren counties will be split with organizations that support people with disabilities in each of those counties.  In Erie County, proceeds from the sneaker sales will be split with The Arc of Erie County; in Warren County, money will be split with the Barber National Institute’s Bollinger Campus

The Laurel Memorial Run/Walk was created by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling of Silver Creek, NY, in honor of their oldest daughter, who had Down syndrome.  The event seeks to raise public awareness about individuals with disabilities while providing an opportunity for people with disabling conditions, and those without, to come together at a fun, family-friendly event.

Proceeds from the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk are used to enhance employment and work training opportunities for people with disabilities.

This year’s Laurel Memorial Run/Walk takes place July 16 and 17.  The first day consists of a relay run and a 30-mile endurance run from Jamestown to Dunkirk.  The following day in Silver Creek there will be an 8-kilometer run, a 5k fitness walk, a 1k fun walk, children’s runs, and “Laurel’s Legacy Lap,” in which people with disabilities take a lap around the track at the village ball field.

For more information about the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk, phone (716) 661-4735 or visit www.laurel-run.com.

This is a copy of the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk support card being sold at Kwik Fill/Red Apple

ACME The Appliance Store Donates 55-inch TV to TRC Golf Classic

June 29, 2021

Dan and Beth Hocking, Owners of ACME The Appliance Store, recently donated a 55 inch Samsung television that will be used for a drawing to support the 25th Anniversary TRC Golf Classic.

The TRC Golf Classic is the major annual fund-raising event for Filling the Gap, Inc., a Jamestown-based non-profit organization that works with The Resource Center to support people with disabilities and other socioeconomic challenges in Chautauqua County.

“We are very thankful for The Resource Center and the positive impact they have on our community,” said Dan Hocking. “ACME The Appliance Store is pleased to help in a small way with this 55-inch, high-definition TV donation to help raise money for the TRC Golf Classic. We are strong believers in giving back to the community. The Resource Center makes a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis, and we are happy to continue to support their efforts.”

The drawing for the TV will take place at the end of the TRC Golf Classic on July 26 at Moon Brook Country Club. For information on how to enter the drawing and purchase tickets, phone 661-1477.

The 2021 TRC Golf Classic is scheduled for July 26 at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown. For more information or to sponsor, please visit www.trcgolfclassic.com.

Picture: l to r – Lily Constantino, Community Coach; Abby Adam, Special Olympics Athlete; and Dan Hocking, Co-Owner, ACME The Appliance Store

Lake Shore Savings renews its sponsorship of TRC Golf Classic

June 15, 2021

Lake Shore Bancorp, Inc., the holding company of Lake Shore Savings Bank, announced that its Board of Directors has renewed an agreement to have Lake Shore Savings serve as the presenting sponsor of the TRC Golf Classic for three years.

The TRC Golf Classic is the major annual fund-raising event for Filling the Gap, Inc., a Jamestown-based non-profit organization that works with The Resource Center to support people with disabilities and other socioeconomic challenges in Chautauqua County.

Lake Shore Savings has sponsored the TRC Golf Classic every year since the tournament began in 1997, and since 2012 has been the event’s presenting sponsor.  One of the most successful one-day charity golf tournaments in Southwestern New York, the TRC Golf Classic has netted more than $1.6 million since it began in 1997.

“Lake Shore Savings Bank has been a proud supporter of The Resource Center for the past 25 years,” said Daniel P. Reininga, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Their individualized support services, including residential services, educational and training opportunities, clinical services including primary care, dental, podiatry, physical, speech and occupational therapy, school-based clinic, mental health services, employment services and community habilitation services benefit over 8,000 individuals throughout Chautauqua County and make an impactful difference in the lives of those with disabilities and other challenges. The valuable work of The Resource Center helps to ensure these individuals receive the support they need to achieve maximum independence while contributing to their community and experiencing lifelong growth and quality of life. We are proud to continue to support the ongoing efforts of such a vital organization in our community.”

“Everyone at The Resource Center and Filling the Gap are grateful to Lake Shore Savings for its commitment to continue as the presenting sponsor of the TRC Golf Classic,” said Denise Jones, The Resource Center’s Chief Executive Officer.  “We rely on the generosity of our local business community to make our events successful.  Lake Shore Savings has been one of our most generous corporate partners over the last quarter century.  Their support allows us to fulfill our mission of helping people with disabilities to enjoy meaningful lives.

“On behalf of The Resource Center and the TRC Golf Classic Steering Committee, we applaud Lake Shore Savings Bank for once again agreeing to be the presenting sponsor for the next three TRC Golf Classics.  Lake Shore Savings has been a major sponsor of our event for 25 years.  And, for the last ten years, as presenting sponsor, they have contributed $150,000.  Lake Shore’s motto is ‘Putting People First’ and they have once again lived their mission as a wonderful community partner.  We thank Dan Reininga and the Board at Lake Shore Savings Bank for their generous commitment to the Resource Center and the people we serve,” said Chris Anderson, Chair, and Gregg Bender, Chair Emeritus, TRC Golf Classic.

The 2021 TRC Golf Classic is scheduled for July 26 at Moon Brook Country Club in Jamestown.  For more information or to sponsor, please visit www.trcgolfclassic.com.

Picture:  l to r – Daniel Reininga, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lake Shore Savings Bank; Gregg Bender, TRC Golf Classic Chair Emeritus; Chris Anderson, TRC Golf Classic Chair; Kelly Dimitri, The Resource Center Chief Financial Officer; Adam Dimitri, Vice President, Regional Sales Officer, Lake Shore Savings Bank

Virtual “Blingo” fund-raiser to take place in April

March 18, 2021

People who enjoy the excitement of a daily prize drawing may want to take part in the fifth annual Sassy Baggs & Beyond “Bingo” fundraising event to benefit people with disabilities.

Typically for the Blingo event, more than 120 people gather at The Resource Center for a night of bingo, with designer handbags as prizes.  That wasn’t possible this year because of the pandemic, so instead organizers have created a “20 Prizes in 20 Days” event.

Every weekday starting April 5 and lasting through the end of the month, Filling the Gap, Inc., will hold a drawing for one of 20 prizes.  The prizes include handbags, gift cards, a smart speaker, an air purifier, a wireless charging station, a blender, windchimes, and an air fryer.  All of the prizes can be viewed at www.fillingthegap.net.

“Our 2021 Blingo event has taken the fun to another level,” said Victoria Trass Bardo, Development and Events Manager.  “The details are 20 prizes, 20 tickets for $20 for 20 days of fun.  We included items that are unique and a wide variety that surely has something for everyone.  Winners will be selected at noon each day on Facebook live.”

A $20 ticket gives the buyer one chance in each of the daily drawings.  People can improve their odds of winning by buying multiple tickets.  Tickets can be bought online at the Filling the Gap web site or in person at the Felice Corporate Center, 92 Fairmount Avenue in Jamestown, and The Resource Center’s administrative offices at 200 Dunham Avenue in Celoron.  Tickets can be purchased until March 31.

The Blingo event is being organized by Filling the Gap, which works with The Resource Center to improve the lives of people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.  Proceeds will benefit the Mark Pacheco WOW (Working on Wonders) Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.  The WOW Fund, which was created in memory of a Resource Center employee who died in 2010, supports people with disabilities to enjoy awesome experiences.

Click here to listen to a radio interview about our Blingo event.  For more information, phone Vicky at 661-1477.

Filling the Gap officials pose with tickets and prizes for this year’s Blingo fund-raiser. Pictured are, from left, Ashley Hammond, Human Resources/Payroll Supervisor; Cindy Hitchcock, Vice President of Business and Finance; Victoria Trass Bardo, Development and Events Manager; and Kayla Bohall, Payroll/Special Event Assistant.

Laurel Memorial Run/Walk logo contest under way

March 10, 2021

Area high school students can put their artistic talents to use by participating in a contest to design the logo for the 2021 Laurel Memorial Run and Walk.  The person who designs the winning entry will receive a $100 gift card to a business of their choosing.

Laurel Run was started in 1997 by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling of Silver Creek.  The annual event is named in honor of their oldest daughter.  Laurel, who died in 2017, had Down syndrome, and the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk seeks to raise awareness and appreciation about the achievements of people with Down syndrome and other types of disabilities.  The Hotellings have dedicated the Laurel Memorial Run and Walk to Laurel and to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive supports from The Resource Center.

The Laurel Memorial Run and Walk raises money for Filling the Gap, Inc., which works with The Resource Center to support people with disabilities and their families in Chautauqua County.

The logo contest is open to high school students in Chautauqua County.  Design entries should not be too intricate, since the design needs to reproduce well on a T-shirt.  Artists also are encouraged to submit original designs, rather than using artwork they find on the Internet or through other sources.

Designs must be received by Monday, April 26.  Internal voting at The Resource Center and Filling the Gap will identify the finalists.  The public then will have the opportunity to vote online to help determine the winning design.  Pictured above is the logo that was used last year.

Designs should be submitted to: Laurel Run Logo Contest, c/o Filling the Gap, 92 Fairmount Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701.  Designs also may be submitted electronically to kayla.bohall@resourcecenter.org.  All entries become the property of Filling the Gap.

The 25th annual Laurel Memorial Run and Walk will take place July 16 and 17.  The traditional Jamestown-to-Dunkirk relay run will take place Friday, July 16.  The following morning in Silver Creek, organizers plan to hold an 8-kilometer running race, a 5k walk, a 1k fun walk, children’s runs, “Laurel’s Lap” (for anyone with a disability), and a party in the village square.  Some of those activities may need to be adjusted based on the pandemic.

For more information about the logo contest or the Laurel Memorial Run/Walk, phone 661-4735.

Redesigned Step Up for Autism being planned

September 10, 2020

The 11th annual Step Up for Autism will take place, but with a few changes because of the pandemic.

The usual 1.5-mile awareness walk and related activities at The Resource Center’s Dunham Avenue building in Celoron will not be held this year.  Instead, people are encouraged to do a virtual walk on their own.  And because it’s a virtual event, people who prefer not to walk can choose to do another activity that interests them, such as running, cycling or kayaking.  People can do their virtual activity at any time.  Online registration will close September 30.

Registration is $20 if using a paper form or $22.50 if registering online.  Click here to find both the online registration form and a printable form.  Paid registrants will receive a 2020 Step Up for Autism T-shirt.

Shirts also can be bought for $10 (sizes Extra Large or smaller) or $15 (2X or larger).  Click here to order.

While we won’t be holding the popular Sweets Auction this year, we will have an online Basket Auction.  Details will be announced soon on our Facebook page and at www.fillingthegap.net/events/step-up-for-autism.

In place of the Sweets Auction, we are offering a tasty alternative.  A chicken barbecue prepared by Weidner BBQ is set for Friday, October 2, in the rear parking lot at TRC’s Dunham Avenue building.  Meals (consisting of chicken, baked beans, macaroni salad, roll, and butter) cost $12.  In addition, Candy apples can be ordered for $3 each, and caramel apples are $5 apiece.  There will not be any on-site sales the day of the event; food must be purchased in advance.  The deadline to order is September 24.  Click here to order.

Step Up for Autism is a celebration of people on the autism spectrum.  The event is put on by Filling the Gap, Inc., and The Resource Center.  All money raised through Step Up for Autism will stay in Chautauqua County to support people who have autism and other developmental disabilities.  Most of the proceeds support The Resource Center’s SUCCESS program, which teaches socialization skills to children and young adults on the spectrum.

If you’d like to make a donation in support of the 2020 Step Up for Autism, send a check to Filling the Gap, 92 Fairmount Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701, or click here to make an online donation.

For more information, phone Victoria Trass Bardo, Development and Events Manager, at 716-661-1477, or email her at vicky.bardo@resourcecenter.org.

Filling the Gap awards record $107,680 in grants

August 27, 2020

Filling the Gap, Inc., has announced its 2020 grants, awarding a record $107,680 to support people with disabilities.

Filling the Gap is a Jamestown-based not-for-profit that works with The Resource Center and other organizations to support Chautauqua County residents who are poor, distressed and underprivileged, especially people with disabilities.  Each year, Filling the Gap solicits grant requests from TRC and other organizations within the Filling the Gap network.

This year’s funding requests totaled $203,925.   Filling the Gap’s Grants Committee studied the requests and recommended which ones to fund, and FTG’s Board of Directors agreed with the committee’s recommendations.  Some requests were denied because other funding sources are available; other requests were turned down because the pandemic caused the activities to be canceled or postponed to next year.

With the amount awarded this year, Filling the Gap has now given out $1,369,738 in grants since 1995.  This year’s awards are as follows:

  • $20,000 matching grant for the development of The Resource Center’s Edgewater Art House
  • $12,000 to TEAM Services for transportation vouchers
  • $11,400 to TRC Community Health Center for physical therapy equipment
  • $10,000 for the Chautauqua Connections Children’s Coalition
  • $10,000 to TRC to launch Structured Skill Development programs within the Gateways and Passages PROS Programs
  • $6,000 matching grant to The Resource Center to help fund construction of a replica of TRC’s Carl Cappa Building at the Children’s Safety and Education Village
  • $6,000 to TRC to support advocacy, self-advocacy and outreach initiatives
  • $5,000 to TRC to acquire therapeutic robots to assist people with autism
  • $5,000 to TRC to help people overcome barriers to maintaining employment
  • $5,000 to TRC to support supervisory training
  • $4,100 to TRC Community Health Center for occupational therapy equipment and supplies
  • $3,000 to TRC Community Health Center to replace the EKG machine in the Primary Care Office
  • $3,000 to TRC for assistive technology to help people enhance their independence and decrease their need for staff support
  • $2,430 to TRC’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services to buy health-related equipment and supplies
  • $1,450 to TRC for the agency’s annual picnic
  • $1,265 to TRC Community Health Center to help pay for IQ testing
  • $900 to TRC Community Health Center to replace medical equipment in the Primary Care Office
  • $600 to TRC to support training for parents and caregivers of people with developmental disabilities
  • $485 to TRC Community Health Center for speech therapy supplies

Filling the Gap officials are proud they could provide money to support a variety of initiatives.

“Filling the Gap is happy to once again award grants to The Resource Center and the FTG network,” said Cindy Hitchcock, vice president of business and finance.  “It is always heart-warming to be able to fund the unmet needs for the various programs.”

Most of the money for the grants comes from fund-raising events that Filling the Gap facilitates in partnership with The Resource Center.  Proceeds from these events are transferred to the various TRC endowment funds at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.  The income from these endowment funds is used to fulfill the grant requests.

Fund-raiser to benefit WOW Fund

August 25, 2020

Pictured from left are Dan Hocking, co-owner of ACME The Appliance Store; Steven Rodgers, who was able to attend a Buffalo Bills game thanks to the WOW Fund; and Marcos Figueroa, who was the driving force in creating the WOW Fund.

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of this year’s Mark Pacheco WOW Fund Lip Sync Battle fund-raiser, but area residents still have an opportunity to support the fund.

The sixth annual Lip Sync Battle had been scheduled to take place in August at the Celoron Legion.  Because the popular event draws a standing-room-only audience of several hundred people, organizers decided to cancel this year’s contest to avoid the possibility of spreading the virus.

As a way to generate money to partially replace the revenues that will be lost by not having a Lip Sync Battle, there will be a drawing for a Samsung television.  The TV was donated by ACME The Appliance Center of Jamestown.

“We are very thankful for The Resource Center and the positive impact they have on our community,” said Dan Hocking, who with his wife, Beth, owns ACME.  “We are pleased to help in a small way with this 55-inch, high-definition TV donation to help raise money for the WOW Fund.  The Resource Center makes a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis, and we are happy to support their efforts.”

The Mark Pacheco WOW (Working on Wonders) Fund awards money to people with special needs so they can do things they may not otherwise be able to afford, such as attend a sporting event or a concert, or take a vacation.  The fund is administered by Filling the Gap, Inc., which works with The Resource Center to support people with disabilities in Chautauqua County.

The fund was created in memory of Pacheco, an employee of The Resource Center who died in 2010 of injuries sustained in an altercation on a Jamestown street.  Pacheco’s family and friends suggested the establishment of the WOW Fund as a tribute to him and to create something positive from his death.

The drawing for the TV will take place September 15.  For information on how to enter the drawing, phone 661-1477.  Proceeds will be directed to The Resource Center’s Mark Pacheco WOW Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

“Perseverance” marks Laurel Memorial Run & Walk

July 16, 2020

“Perseverance” has always been a word associated with the Laurel Memorial Run and Walk. This year is no exception.

Nearly 40 years ago, perseverance is what planted in Wayne Hotelling’s mind the idea of having Laurel Run. While driving through Canada on a family vacation in the early 1980s, Wayne noticed a man with a prosthetic leg, running along the highway. The Hotellings soon came upon the man’s support team and stopped to chat. They learned the runner was Terry Fox, and that after losing a leg to cancer he had set a goal of running across Canada in a “Marathon of Hope” to raise money for cancer research.

Terry’s determination and perseverance inspired Wayne, and he decided that one day he would do something similar to Terry’s Marathon of Hope.” Wayne’s goal would be to raise awareness about people with developmental disabilities in honor of his oldest daughter, Laurel, who had Down syndrome.

In 1997, Wayne set out to jog over 400 miles across New York State in an endeavor he called “Laurel Run.” After covering 100 miles in the first five days, Wayne sustained a leg injury that made it too painful to continue running. Undaunted, he gave his leg a little time to heal and then picked up where he had left off, trading his running shoes for a borrowed bicycle. When Wayne came to steep inclines, he got off the bike and had his wife, Elaine, walk up the hills to officially log the miles. They ended up finishing on time, with Wayne and a group of supporters jogging the last few miles.

A leg injury couldn’t stop Wayne from completing Laurel Run. He persevered because Laurel Run wasn’t about him — it was about Laurel, her friends at The Resource Center, and all of the people with disabilities, their families and caregivers who cheered for him as he crossed the state.

Perseverance has remained a part of the Laurel Run/Walk over the years as it has evolved into an annual, two-day event:

  • It is demonstrated by the many runners who have conquered our challenging 8-kilometer course, dubbed “The Toughest Race You’ll Love to Run” because of the hills, heat and humidity.
  • It is exemplified by the hardy souls who run or bike from Jamestown to Dunkirk in an event we call “The Laurel-thon.”
  • It is personified by the dozens of people with disabilities who turn out each year in Silver Creek to tackle “Laurel’s Legacy Lap,” an event created just for them.

The Hotellings have persevered in their personal lives as well. Some 30 years ago, Laurel acquired a serious infection and was hospitalized for 100 days. But she pulled

through and went on to enjoy a full, rich life.

In her final year, Laurel again spent a lot of time in hospitals in Buffalo and Erie, PA, with her parents visiting her every day. And Wayne, Elaine and their entire family persevered after the sad day in November 2017 when Laurel died at the age of 54.

Having persevered through so much over the years, Wayne and Elaine weren’t about to let the coronavirus cancel the 24th annual Laurel Memorial Run and Walk. Out of safety concerns, we will not hold our usual Silver Creek events. Instead, we’re asking people to sign up to complete a Laurel Run or Walk on their own. Learn more and register at www.laurel-run.com.

But not everything has changed! We’re still going to conduct our Jamestown-to-Dunkirk relay run Friday, July 17. We can’t hold our usual kickoff and victory celebrations, but by conducting the relay we can maintain a sense of normalcy this year.

The Laurel Run/Walk experienced a major change in 2018, which was our first event after Laurel passed away. This year will be different, too, but we hope many area residents will tap into Laurel’s persevering spirit and sign up to do a virtual run or walk. And we’re optimistic that by offering the virtual options, we’ll also attract people from faraway locations who want to be part of the Laurel Run/Walk tradition.

Pictured, Wayne, Elaine and Laurel pose outside Dunkirk City Hall during the victory celebration after the 2006 flag relay. Laurel is holding a proclamation declaring it “Laurel Run Day” in the City. She enjoyed her role as grand marshal of the Laurel Run/Walk.