OCEAN CITY — More than 300 participants helped raise over $36,000 Sunday, Oct. 20, in the ninth annual John R. Elliott HERO Walk & 5K Run on the Boardwalk.

They also took the HERO Pledge to be and to use designated drivers.

Proceeds from the event benefited the HERO Campaign and its mission to prevent drunken driving by making the use of designated drivers as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.

HERO initiatives include school and college education programs, the HERO Pledge online designated driver registration, the HERO Safe Ride program in partnership with area bars and taverns, and police patrol cars wrapped with the campaign’s reminder: Be a HERO. Be a Designated Driver.

“We want to thank everyone for making the HERO Walk and Run a success, and reminding us all that we can end drunk driving by being and having designated drivers,” said Bill Elliott, campaign chairman and co-founder with his wife, Muriel.

The HERO Campaign is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the use of safe and sober designated drivers to prevent drunken driving tragedies in memory of all victims of drunken driving, including Navy Ensign John R. Elliott, of Egg Harbor Township, who was killed in a collision with a drunken driver in July 2000.

The 5K run began at 9:30 a.m., followed with the walkers’ march at 11 a.m. Both started from the Ocean City Sports and Civic Center at Sixth Street and the Boardwalk. Sponsors included AtlantiCare, Team Matt Uhl, ANA Towing, OceanFirst Bank, Iron Workers Local 399, Miss Night in Venice Pageant, Stockton University, Viking Yachts, Foster-Karney Foundation, Kindle Auto Plaza, Clear Channel Outdoor, Kramer Beverage, Tropicana Atlantic City, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, Car Toyz, James Duffy Family, Jane French, Sharon Grunow and Dallas & Di Krapf.

Notable fundraisers and teams were thanked for their support of the event:

• Top Overall Fundraising Team: Team Matt Uhl, team captains Al Uhl and Ashleigh Boyce

• Top Overall New Team: Mike Sot, team captain Patrick Moore

• Top Overall Individual Fundraiser: Al Uhl, Team Matt Uhl

• Top Overall Individual Fundraiser, new team: Patrick Moore, Team Mike Sot

• Top Community Fundraising Team: Team Shelby G., the Gribbin family

• Outstanding Individual Fundraiser: Jana Fabio, Team Mike Sot

• Outstanding Memory Teams: Ry Dog, Kim Schleyer; Moretti Eagles, Kathy Moretti; Team Kevin, Bill Ade

Additionally, the HERO Campaign thanks its event grand marshals:

• 5K Run: Al Uhl of Team Matt Uhl and Patrick and Leanne Healey of Viking Yachts

• Walk: Patrick and Valerie Aiken of ANA Towing

The winning participants in the run:

• Male: Nicholas Ferzetti, age 16, time 0:17:47 — 05:44 minutes/mile

• Female: Sofia Petrov, age 12, time 0:20:59 — 06:46 minutes/mile

Also at the event, members of the Ocean City Police Benevolent Association Local 61 delivered a $1,000 donation to the HERO Campaign to help support its efforts at promoting designated driving.

“We are extremely appreciative of the Ocean City PBA’s generous contribution and their continuing partnership with the HERO Campaign to prevent drunk driving by helping us promote designated driving,” Elliott said.

“We are proud to support the HERO Campaign and its life-saving message,” Ocean City police Sgt. Jamie Fearnhead said. “It’s important to keep America’s Greatest Family Resort a safe community for everyone, and the HERO Campaign does their part every day.”

See HEROwalkrun.org for more information.

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