Run to aid equestrian center hit by blaze PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 23 March 2013 07:48
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MILLBURY - In the wake of a devastating fire this week, a race to help a local therapeutic equestrian center will go on.
The Run for the Meadows 5K Run/Walk will be held May 25 at the Millbury Fire Hall, 28410 Oak St., to benefit the Vail Meadows Equestrian Center in Oregon.
"I definitely feel that this year is a pivotal moment for Vail Meadows to really help them out and assist," said Trevor Walsh, a Lake High School senior heading up the event.
A barn at the center suffered a major fire early Thursday morning, killing at least 10 horses, as well as other animals including goats and pigs, according to the Associated Press. The center, situated on 25 acres, helps and works with mentally and physically disabled children and adults. It is a full-service horse farm.
"It was just a really big impact," said Walsh, who has volunteered at the center, noting the number of animals killed in the tragedy.
"I can't imagine what they're going through right now," said Lake Sophomore Byron Swartz, the 5K's co-leader.
An image posted at the center's website shows the barn to have been completely burned to the ground.
"The devastation caused by this tragic accident is apparent throughout the community," a statement on the site reads. "The services offered (at) Vail Meadows have touched the lives of our volunteers, the local community and all of our riders."
In a Facebook post, the center said that the house and another barn on the grounds were not damaged.
"We are in need of prayers as this is a heartwrenching blow for us all," the post reads.
The race was begun by Lake High School students three years ago to benefit the center. The 5K raised $3,000 for Vail Meadows last year, and there are hopes to go above and beyond that amount this year. Since the fire, Walsh said, interest in the race "has just grown exponentially," with the group members fielding many calls and emails.
"It's crucial right now, I would say, that this be the best year yet," said Swartz.
"We've got to get the community together and unite."
Run for the Meadows on-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. on race day, with the race starting at 10 a.m. Participants may also pre-register online at www.runforthemeadows.com.
The fee for pre-registration online is $15 with a T-shirt, or $10 without. Pre-registration ends on April 30. Race-day registration is $20, with a T-shirt, or $15 without.
 

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