Friday, May 27, 2016

Toby's Dream continues this year with a memorial race event and a raffle - By Michelle Libby

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On Saturday, May 28, the gun will go off on the second annual Toby’s Dream Project Memorial Race event at Windham High School. Last year the event raised $8,000 toward the goal of paving the Windham Veterans Center parking lot, which meant a lot of Toby Pennels, a veteran who gave a lot of his time and resources to the space to make it succeed. The driveway and access road are now paved and through the work of his family and a small group of dedicated volunteers, the initiative will now allow Toby to continue to give back to organizations he loved. 
Stuart “Toby” Pennels passed away after a motorcycle accident in 2014. At the time he was running for political office, sat on the RSU14 school board and had served his country. 

This year the committee will honor Toby by splitting the money between three places. All money raised at the races and through a raffle for a paddle board, flotation device and paddle donated by Kittery Trading Post will go to help programs that mean so much to Toby. The first place the money will go is toward the Toby Pennels Memorial Scholarship Fund, then the remaining money will be split between the veterans center and the Windham High School cross country team, who have given so much for this event,” according to Brenda Pennels, Toby’s widow. “We want to make it something Toby would have wanted.” Two of Toby and Brenda’s children ran cross country and cross country coach Jeff Riddle has spent countless hours working on the races. 

At the race on Saturday there will be a 5K and a 1 mile walk, run or wheel and also a kids’ fun run with ice cream cones donated by The Ice Cream Dugout as a reward. Registration can be done online at the website or on Saturday. There will be Blue Mile markers to honor those who have passed on.
“We are very happy to continue to partner with Brian Berkemeyer, Run In A Race, LLC., to help with online race registrations and online donations and also officially time our races and collect all race results,” said Riddle. 

This year there will be a meet a veteran portion of the event and a station for writing to soldiers. Colonel Scott Venable will fly in from Chicago to talk about what it means to serve and what it was like serving in Iraq with Toby in 2007. There will be “a lot of things going on on race day to honor vets,” said Brenda. That includes a non-perishable food drive. People are asked to bring an item or two for the Windham Food Pantry. The items are collected by the American Legion Post 148. They will also be collecting food in North Windham.  

“All of this happens effectively because RSU14 has again sanctioned this race event in respect and honor of Toby and all that he gave over his years of service to RSU14. It is important to also mention that the Town of Windham and Raymond have been overly supportive of this event and we look forward to continuing those partnerships as well,” said Riddle. 

This year the organizers cut out the breakfast and made the whole event shorter. It’s more organized, said Brenda. 

“Last year, year one, Brenda Pennels, Taylor Pennels, Don Swander and I worked with a few other volunteers to make the event a very successful one, all within a very short timeline to respectfully pull it all off,” said Riddle. “In this second year of the race event,…we have increased our event coordination committee with some amazing community members from the towns of Windham and Raymond.”  

The team effort includes Taylor Pennels as web designer/sponsorship coordinator/Facebook marketer and Don Swander liaison with the Windham Veterans Center and fundraising. Others added are Jennifer and Nelson Breton, Suzie Brockelbank, Abbi Brockelbank, Kristy Appleebee, and Nini and Nate Bennett. 

http://www.lisafriedlander.comMolly Cobb received the Toby Pennels Memorial Scholarship last year and will be given out again at the senior recognition night before graduation this year. The raffle for the paddle board will be drawn on Memorial Day after the community luncheon event and paver dedication that starts at noon on Monday. 

For more information and to register, visit or Facebook. Donations for the scholarship can be made to The Toby Pennels Scholarship Fund,!toby-pennels-scholarship/m4oon.

The event in Summary:

1.  We have a guest speaker coming in from Chicago: Colonel Scott Venable
2.  A kids choir coming to sing
3.  Veterans on-site to story tell and answer questions
4.  A collection-site to support the Veterans centers canned food drive initiative.
5.  We hope to have a 'write a letter to a soldier’ station
6.  A 1 mile race, run, walk, wheel   (see the course map online)
7.  A 5K race   (see the course map online)
8.  A kids race.    (See the course map online)
9.  We will have a 'Blue Mile' within the 5K course out on 202 where we will celebrate military members who lost their lives for our country.  
10.  We will have cash prizes and other prizes for our top runners.  
11.  Along with that we have sponsors and raffle items, including a grand raffle of a paddle board, from Kittery Trading Post.  

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