Relay for Life connects the community

| 14 Jun 2012 | 01:09

WEST MILFORD — What a weekend for giving. West Milford is a great town.Wide-spread, yet with that small-town feeling.Last weekend demonstrated that there’s a lot of heart and charity in this town.Between all the people at the Relay for Life of the Highlands on Saturday and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation- WMPD/WMFD Conquer Cancer event on Sunday, you’d almost have to wonder if anybody was at home over the weekend.

The Relay for Life brought out over 500 walkers, 46 teams and 34 survivors.Add to that the caretakers and the general public cheering them on.Cancer is serious but the atmosphere at the West Milford High School track was upbeat, hopeful and thankful.As of Tuesday, $105,000 had been collected for the American Cancer Society, and there’s still some counting to do.

Vickie Evans, who co-chaired the event with Nicole Rivera, was delighted with its success. At this point in time, the collection is $13,000 higher than it was last year at this time.That’s quite an accomplishment, considering today’s economy.

Evans, an oncology nurse, is also a proud mom.Her two sons, Matthew, age 5, and Tyler, age six, worked along with her throughout the planning stages.

“I think it’s important that kids get involved, instill it now, let them learn to give back,” Evans said. For their efforts they were surprised with a special trophy on Saturday.

There were kids of all ages on the track.The teen turn out was, as usual, amazing and their youthful enthusiasm kept spirits high throughout the event.Having Paul Gorski, the principal of West Milford High School, as a target in the dunk tank added to their fun.West Milford police chief, Gene Chiosie, another “dunkee,” demonstrated the connectivity of this town.

There were thunder storms looming on Saturday, a dangerous situation for all those on the track and in the tents. Just at the start of the opening lap there was a roll of distant thunder and a big “uh-oh” in everyone’s mind.The storm was being carefully monitored and it was headed right toward town.

“It split right over West Milford.We had just a few minutes of rain drops and then it went completely around us.It was like the parting of the seas,” Evans said.And a good omen for a successful event.