Community members put on their running shoes for the 5K Character Run, which was just one of the activities in this year’s Fordland Community Care Day Saturday, Sept. 16, at Fordland High School.

Participants could dress up as their favorite book, movie or historical character. Fordland’s Care to Learn chapter partnered again with ActNow Racing, who was in charge of the 5K Run/Walk. Another group involved in this year’s race was myTeam Triumph of the Ozarks. The myTeam Triumph program, according to, provides all the equipment needed to allow captains (participants with disabilities) an opportunity to participate in 5Ks, 10Ks, triathlons, marathons and half marathons. Jeffrey Skwirut, a boy who has cerebral palsy, served as captain for myTeam Triumph of the Ozarks during the race. He was joined by his “angels” (athletes who have the honor of pushing and pulling their captain on the course).

“MyTeam Triumph is a really neat organization,” said Becky Haynes, who recently took over as liaison for Fordland’s Care to Learn chapter. “They have specialized chairs for participants with disabilities and go to different places all around the area.”

Awards were presented to the top three finishers of each division of the 5K immediately after the race. Gary Emrick and Mia Wiley were named the overall male and female winners in the 5K run. Jack Dover, Fordland, received the individual award in the 5K character run costume contest, while Jerry Acklin and Elizabeth Chowning, West Plains, received the group award in the contest.

In addition to the race, the event included a pancake breakfast at the high school, live and silent auctions, games and inflatables. Participants could also shop at various vendors inside the gym. One of them was Matraca Ferrier, an independent consultant with Pink Zebra. Ferrier said she felt that moving inside the gym was not a great decision from a vendor’s aspect because it did not attract as many customers, but she still wanted to come and support the Fordland Care to Learn chapter.

“The chapter advertised from the beginning that the event was going to be inside, but I made the decision to come since I did good last year and it was for a good cause,” said Ferrier. “The vendor booth spot goes to the Care to Learn organization.”

According to Haynes, they had talked about having everything in one location last year and thought it would be easier to have all of the activities in one convenient place. All proceeds from Fordland Community Care Day will go to the Fordland Care to Learn chapter, a nonprofit organization which seeks to meet health, hunger and hygiene needs for children.

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