By Marie Pfeifer
A sudden downpour could not douse the competitive flame of more than 400 participants in Thursday’s Lawyers for Kids 5K at Ginty Field in Morris Township.
Mike Soroko, 25, of Kinnelon, won the race with a time of 17:29. Jon Snow, 23, hometown unavailable, was next at 18:19 and Gene Macogons, 37, of Montville finished third at 18:35.
Ashley Higginson, 25, of Clinton, led the women, crossing the finish line in 19:63. Danielle Burke, 29, of Boonton came in second with a time of 21:28 and Randolph resident Amanda Huston, listed as just 11 years old, was third at 21:35.
But the real winners were hard-luck children. The 10th annual edition of this event raised an estimated $45,000 to $50,000 for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a nonprofit group that advocates for abused children placed in foster care.
Photos by John Ryan and Marie Pfeifer
That was Nancy Bangiola’s estimate. She is executive director of both the Morris County Bar Association and its charitable foundation, which organizes the race.
CASA is growing–of necessity, according to Lisa Firkser, its executive director.
“Unfortunately, we are serving more children. We served 400 children this past year in Morris and Sussex counties with 167 volunteers. Fortunately, we have been able to provide for their care.”
Mindy Beck, a CASA board member and volunteer, has interceded for 10 children through the years.
“How lucky you and I are that we are safe and sound in our families and our homes, but not everyone is. For that reason I was part of a team that brought CASA to Morris County,” she said.
“I have enjoyed working with CASA and many other nonprofits these last 10 years,” said Nancy Bangiola. “In the next 10 years I am looking forward to moving the conversation with nonprofits front and center.”
The event included a walk and a “kids gallop.”
Jessica Bosch and Beth Dalena, whose law practice includes interaction with kids, said they ran the race because it helps children and they believe in “supporting and participating in charity work.”
“I like to help the kids and it gives me and opporunity to meet and interact with people,” said Cara Parmigiani, Judge Thomas Critchley’s law clerk.
Family Court Judge Michael P. Wright staunchly sang God Bless America as torrential rain burst from the clouds. Judge Thomas Weisenbeck blew the whistle signaling the start of the race.
“The rain did not dampen our spirits,” Nancy Bangiola said. “It was a very successful event despite the weather. I am so proud to be partners with CASA and look forward to our continuing relationship.”