Sally Santora/For The Livingston County News
Children, teens and adults from both Le Roy and Caledonia participated Saturday night in the Lite the Knight 5K at Hartwood Park in Le Roy.
LITE THE KNIGHT
Le Roy, Caledonia unite for Cal-Mum 5
In just a few weeks, Le Roy and Caledonia high school football teams will meet on the gridiron for what may be the greatest rivalry in Section Five football.
But on Saturday the two communities showed solidarity for the Caledonia-Mumford Central School graduates and their families affected by a July 16 crash in Wheatland. More than 500 runners and 200 spectators joined for the first Lite the Knight 5K.
The crash at North Road and Riga-Mumford Road killed Taylor Binnert, Christopher Peterson and his sister, Emily Peterson. Also injured were Joanne Kruchten and Michaele Murphy.
Patrick Privatera, owner of Le Roy Physical Therapy and Village Fitness, coordinated the race/walk, which followed a course through the woods at Hartwood Park that was illuminated by luminaries. All of the proceeds benefited the Cal-Mum 5 account established at Five Star Bank in Caledonia.
Privatera said as a father of four children, he empathized with the families that had endured such a tragic loss and he wanted to do something to support them.
It was a very different sight to see than what normally takes place on the football field when these two schools meet. Cal-Mum’s Red Raider football team players and coach John Walther greeted and parked cars as they arrived at the Le Roy field.
Walther said it was community support for his own family last year that brought him and his Red Raider football team to Le Roy for the 5K. At this time last year, the Cal-Mum community hosted a fundraiser to benefit the Walther twins, born prematurely last summer while he and his wife, Diana, were vacationing in North Carolina. The twins required a specialized air ambulance to get them back to Rochester and Strong Memorial Hospital. More than $16,000 was raised to help the family.
“This is what small, close communities do for each other. I wanted to show these families our support,” Walther said.
Le Roy students and community members donned maroon “Cal-Mum Strong” T-shirts and stood alongside Cal-Mum students at the starting line. Le Roy and Cal-Mum community members worked side by side volunteering at the event, selling concessions and distributing luminary bags.
Many who made a donation for a luminary bag, personalized it with a message such as “We love you Taylor,” “God Bless,” “Joanne’s golden flyers,” and “Cal-Mum Strong,” graced the bags.
The families of the victims involved in the crash attended to show their appreciation
of the event and the two communities’ outpouring of support that they have experienced. Michaela Murphy attended in her wheelchair and said it was important to her to be there so that she could see the community that has shown her such comfort and support. Her parents and boyfriend made it possible for her to be at the event.
The Lite the Knight team of LeRoyans, Trent Fenstermaker, David Privatera, J.J. Kuhns and Steve Stephany, said they were not looking to turn this event into a Knights-Raiders competition. They simply wanted to run the event in support of the Cal-Mum 5, they said.
Cal-Mum alumnus R.J. Kantowski, who now lives in Le Roy, participating as a runner in the event — just four months after having open heart surgery.
“Yes, I live in LeRoy but my heart is in Caledonia,” he said. “I couldn’t go to the call so I’m here to help in this way.”
First-place trophies went to Paul Schwan and Hanah Cole, the first male and female runners to cross the finish line.