When Gary and Richard met Sally
Richard Meyers, an avid runner, was first introduced to the Ronald McDonald House in 2000, by his wife Kate who was volunteering there at the time. “When I first walked in the House and saw the families and the children, it went straight to my heartstrings and I wanted to help. Kate suggested that I put together a 5K run and walk to raise money for the house,” recalls Richard.
At about the same time, Richard met with his good friend Gary Brownell, a runner himself who had many years of experience assisting with the organizing of 5Ks, and proposed the idea to see if Gary would like to co-direct the Race with him.
The idea really took off when both men met Sally, the Executive Director of the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House. “Our initial meeting with Sally is one that we will never forget”, laughs Richard, “Sally is such a Dynamo. Even though, she had no idea what a 5K Race was, she gave us her support; she asked a lot of questions, but she gave us her support!” “It was energizing”, adds Gary, “With the support from Sally, the support from our runners network, a lot of details and planning, we founded the Annual Ronald McDonald House 5K Run/Walk.”
The Race has come long way from the initial meeting with Sally. For the past 15 years, the last Wednesday in July has been Race Day. The Ronald McDonald House 5K Run/Walk is one of the Buffalo News Runner of the Year Series Races and is considered by the running community to be one of the Best Run Races in WNY, with one of the Best Post- Race Parties. The Run is sanctioned by the USATF and is a participant in Western New York’s Fabulous 5K Race Series which includes seven of the favorite Western New York 5K races.
Behind the scenes each year, our Race Co-Directors, Gary and Richard, work tirelessly organizing and over-seeing each course detail. Thinking back, Richard comments, “We ran 5k’s for fun, the camaraderie, making friends, and for staying in shape. Most runs have a charity element and the Buffalo Ronald McDonald House is a cornerstone charity of the area.”
Gary agrees and adds, “The race is all about the people. It’s amazing the number of volunteers who participate. It shows that the Ronald McDonald House means a lot to a lot of people. It makes us feel and realize that there are a lot of people in our society that want to help others. Both of our families get involved and we all have a ball. It’s one more way to bond us together as a family.”
“At the end of the day: WOW! Thousands of volunteers, runners and spectators come out for the run and show their support for the Buffalo House. It doesn’t get old. The end result is the motivator. This is our way to give back to the two communities that mean so much to us; supporting the running community and supporting the mission of the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House is all about the kids & families who stay here. Helping them in some small way deal with some of the difficult struggles they need to address, is humbling.”
”When all is said and done, the impact you have on others is the most important thing in life.”
– Richard Meyers & Gary Brownell