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The following was published in the May 8, 2009 edition of the Register Star.

Register Star
Roger F. Coleman – Publisher
Theresa E. Hyland – Executive Editor

Editorial
Sean’s Run can only get bigger, better

May 8, 2009 - It may have been a hot one on April 26, but that did not deter the 1,371 people who registered to walk/run the 8th Annual Sean’s Run. No matter the weather, Sean’s Run has been a fixture in the Chatham community since the first one in April 2002.

This year had close to 300 more registrants than last year; each year more and moe sign up to run/walk. There were also new raffles prizes this year, including the Grand Prize of a watercolor painting, “A Right Way to Heaven,” created by painter Tom Warner, a runner himself, who was inspired after last year’s Sean’s Run.

Of course the event also included the popular fourth annual World Championship Battle of the Belts and for the second year, Meghan’s Mile. Several schools and youth organizations again received grant money to implement programs designed to encourage teenagers to use seat belts.

We must not forget, though, why Sean’s Run event exists. While it has provided a wonderful opportunity for seat belt and drinking and driving awareness, it is also a reminder of the sad loss of Chatham track star Sean French.

In the early minutes of January 1, 2002, the accident that killed Sean, paralyzed Ian Moore, sent Paul DiCosmo to the hospital and led to the arrest of driver Kristopher Goodrich, is a frightening reminder of the deadly and paralyzing dangers of drinking and driving, as well as not wearing your seat belt. It was reported that not a single seat belt was being worn.

That single accident changed the lives of four young men and their families, as well as this community, forever.

Not in conjunction with Sean’s Run, but in the same vein, a town hall meeting was held at Chatham High School April 23 urging parents not to be party to teenage drinking as part of the Parents Who Host Lose the Most: Don’t Be a Party to teenage Drinking, a national public awareness campaign developed by the Drug-Free Action Allicance in 2000.

New York State police Lt. Gene Hallenbeck said during the meeting, “Every yer, Sean’s Run should act as a reminder of what could happen and the need for parents and children to make the right choice.”

The most important result is Sean’s Law, a bill signed into law by former Governor George Pataki on September 27, 2002, which allows for a judge to immediately suspend the junior learner’s permit or junior license of a driver on their first court appearance after being charges with DWI or DWAI.

From tragedy was born a truly inspirational community event, which only gets bigger and better each year. And to this we say congratulations to the organizers, volunteers, and participants of this year’s Sean’s Run and good luck in preparing for the 9th Annual event.

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