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Race brings light to suicide awareness

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RONAN – People dressed in costumes of all kinds, including a real dog wearing a wig on Friday night during the second annual Light the Night race.

The Ronan Volunteer Fire Department set up trucks with flashing lights to help direct traffic while people ran or walked through town. More than 120 participants started at the Ronan High School tennis courts, went past the park decorated with Halloween creatures, and made their way back to the school.

The event was filled with smiles as people looked at the different costumes. Marc Vergeront dressed up as Mrs. Doubtfire. He said he had a hard time keeping the wig on his head as he walked with his team members, which included seven different Robin Williams’ characters including Popeye, the genie in Aladdin, Mork, Teddy Roosevelt, Peter Pan and Patch Adams. For his efforts, Vergeront won best costume at the event.

The Robin Williams characters alluded to the serious theme underlying the event, which was suicide awareness. Your Life Matters organized the run. Suicide awareness is the group’s goal.

Several Ronan Middle School students dressed in matching neon shirts with a frilly sash or two and called themselves the Stud Muffins. The all male group ran the 5K to remember a friend who committed suicide. They wanted to share a message for anyone thinking about committing suicide.

“Please don’t do it,” they said. “It affects more than you.”

Necklaces were set up at the race table in different colors. People could purchase a specific color to represent their experience. Funds raised supported suicide awareness. The white beads were for a person who lost a child. Red symbolized a spouse, a parent was gold, and green was a personal struggle. The blue beads were worn for overall support.

This year, Your Life Matters is raising funds for a scholarship. Local businesses donated about $6,000 alone for the fundraiser. Students can apply for the scholarship through an application given to the schools.

First place in the men’s race went to Isaiah Nasewytewa. Zarec Couture took second, and Cormac Benn placed third. In the women’s race, Penni Weyant took first, Deanna McElwee took second, and Tori Olson took third.

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