A record-breaking 200-plus men, women and children came out on a cloudy Saturday morning to walk in SARC's 8th annual Walk A Mile in Her Shoes: International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence.
The walkers and supporters contacted over 900 friends and family members to help raise at least $62,000 to support SARC's free victim services.
Donations are still be accepted by visiting Walk A Mile in Her Shoes on SARC's website www.sarc-maryland.org or by texting WalkAMile to #71777.
Saturday's participants began trickling in after 9 a.m., grabbing a cup of joe from the Sunny Day Café tent and loading up on carbs, like bananas and bagels, at the ShopRite tent.
Bill Fritz spun tunes all morning to get the crowd warmed up while walkers challenged each other to games of corn hole which served to fuel the competition. SARC Safehouse Advocate Sierra Keys delighted the children by painting imaginative creations on their hands and faces.
Meanwhile, walkers and friends were learning about victims of domestic violence in the Silent Witness display and hundreds of people took the White Ribbon pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls, by signing SARC's 10'x4' banner and wearing a pledge sticker.
At 10:30 am Luisa Caiazzo, SARC's CEO, welcomed participants talked about the free victim services SARC provides to Harford County residents.
She also explained the other important work SARC does in trying to stem the tide of victims through bystander intervention activities like as Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.
Caiazzo compared bystander intervention regarding misogynist jokes, degrading remarks, lewd behaviors, and sexist comments today with smoking intervention a generation ago.
"Everyone needs to learn to speak up to prevent violence and to promote a shift in society's way of thinking of what is acceptable and tolerated just as people learned to speak up and against smoking in restaurants and public places because it was unhealthy," she said.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who was again the Walk A Mile Her Shoes honorary chair, said he was proud to be back. He and Director of Administration Billy Boniface used the opportunity to encourage all the men of Harford County to be the kind of guy who takes a stand against gender violence.
The walk stepped off at 11 a.m., and there were actually two men who ran the "honorary" one-mile, which left from the Main Street Oyster House, headed west on Main Street, made a U-turn onto Bond Street, proceeded to Churchville Road, and then headed back to its conclusion in the parking lot at the Main Street Oyster House. That's when the real fun began at the after-parties held at the Main Street Oyster House and MaGerks Pub, which both donated a portion of their proceeds to SARC.
"This is a way for SARC to draw attention to the fact that one in two women and one in five men experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetimes," Alison Althouse, Walk A Mile in Her Shoes Coordinator, said. "SARC has a multi-tiered goal with this event: to raise awareness about the problem, to provide action steps to combat the problem and to raise funds to provide resources to the problem's victims in Harford County."
SARC's Board President and Walk A Mile in Her Shoes co-chair Tamera Rush announced the 13 Flip Flop Award winners who each raised $500 or more for the cause. They each received a flip flop that read, "I flip'd for Walk A Mile 2016" and tagged "I'm changing societal norms one step at a time: 2016 Super Fundraiser."
Flip Flop awards for Super Fundraisers were presented to Joel Linkous, Mary Ann Bogarty, Barry Glassman, Anthony DiPaula, Richard Trostle, Brian Kinlein, Alison Althouse, Dan Driban, Bryan Niles, Josh Nelson, Mark Dardozzi, Steven Trostle and Mykl Spencer.
The top fundraising teams and individuals received a special, designed-for-this-event, one of a kind, glittery red pump "trophy."
The first place award for the Top Fundraising Team went to team Pumped Up! which included Steve Linkous, Tony Orbino, Toby Ehrbaker, Alex Troutman, Jeffrey Horowitz, Jack Massicot, Steve Dickerson, CJ D'Alessio, Joel Linkous and Matthew Mullen. Together they raised $27,400.
The second place award for team fundraising went to team SIAB, from the Society of Italian American Businessmen headed by SARC board member Eric Rebbert, which raised $9,700.
The third place award for team fundraising went to team Still Standing Tall, captained by long-time SARC supporter Joe Foster, which raised $3,400.
The first place award for Top Individual Fundraiser went to Tony Palumbo who raised $3,045. Jim Hall from the APGFCU Pumps! came in second place, raising $1,840 and Matt Mullen was third, raising $1,485.
Walk A Mile in Her Shoes co-chair and immediate past president of SARC Sandi Linkous awarded a similar glittery red pump trophy to the team with the Best Team Name as voted on the prior week by SARC constituents and Facebook followers.
The winner with a majority of the more than 100 votes was Blisters for Sisters; the team included Richard Trostle, Steven Trostle, Brian Kinlein, Michael Eberle, Austin Leibforth, Bryan Niles, Dallas Herbert and Cameron Niles. The Biggest Team award went to Ground Control 2020, a youth lacrosse team with 29 team members.
Hazel Hopkins, Jim Brady, Nick Molinaro and Michele Alessi had the difficult job of determining the finalists in the Best Shoe and Best Youth Shoe competition. The final decisions were determined by crowd cheering, with Austin Leibforth winning for Best Shoe and Gavin Bogarty, age 4, winning for Best Youth Shoe.
Donations can still be made by visiting Walk A Mile in Her Shoes on SARC's website www.sarc-maryland.org or by texting WalkAMile to #71777.
Walk a Mile sponsors included: Harford Mutual Insurance; Decisive Data Systems; Harford's Heart; Jones Junction; Aaron's; Saiontz & Kirk; APGFCU; Chick-Fil-A; Ciampaglio Potter & Associates; Innovative Insurance Solutions; Oak Contracting; Elegant Restoration; Harford County Government; Harford County Public Library; Jen Snyder Photography; Pivot Physical Therapy; Barcoding; Jeffrey Horowitz, MD, Plastic Surgeon; Southern States; Sunny Day Café; and Bill Fritz & Sons DJ.