Letter: YMCA thanks Race4Chase volunteers

Chase’s parents Rebecca and Stephen speaking to the groups of athletes, coaches, volunteers, and family members before the Southington event.

Chase’s parents Rebecca and Stephen speaking to the groups of athletes, coaches, volunteers, and family members before the Southington event.

To the editor:

Saturday, Aug. 6 proved to be an historical, inspirational and magical day at YMCA Camp Sloper with nearly 450 children between the ages of 5 and 13 came together for the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon.

Words cannot express the power and the inspiration of the Race4Chase kids triathlon. Inspired by Chase Kowalski, a 7 year old boy who lost his life in the Sandy Hook tragedy on Dec. 14, 2012. The Race4Chase kids triathlon is making a positive impact in 14 YMCA communities across the state.

Chase Kowalski loved to run, taught himself to swim, and spent much of his afternoons on his bike racing over his course in his backyard when the weather cooperated. At six years of age, he asked his parents to find him a triathlon to compete in. He successfully completed his first triathlon and won his age group. He was very proud of his accomplishment sharing his success with friends and teachers and taking great care not to wash off his race number marked on his arms.

It is only fitting that CMAK Foundation would support a program to give other children the same opportunity to train and complete this challenging race and honor Chase at the same time.

Many thanks are in order starting with all the donors who helped make this program available to many local kids and families. Thanks to the over 220 volunteers who made each and every one of the athletes feel empowered and good about themselves. Thanks to the generous vendors for helping to validate the efforts of race organizers and Y staff members. Special shout out to our local Y staff team and volunteers who turned YMCA Camp Sloper into the perfect venue. We’re blessed to work with the very best.

More special thanks out to Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Director, Jim O’Rourke (Exec Director of the Waterbury YMCA) along with his incredible staff for their leadership. Thank you to Rev. Victoria Triano for helping to ground our morning with an opening prayer. Thanks to the Kowalski family and the CMAK Foundation members for sharing Chase and teaching us lifelong lessons.

As I enter my 36th year as a YMCA professional, I can proudly say that the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon easily made my top five YMCA moments throughout my entire career. The fact there was a rainbow over Sloper just hours after the event truly validated the magic of this incredible day.

We look forward to continuing, and enhancing the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon in future years.

John Myers, Southington YMCA Executive Director

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