Mayor Lori Lightfoot Set the Pace as Grand Marshall for A Safe Haven’s 5kRUN! to End Homelessness, in the Fight against Homelessness and Poverty in Chicago!

CHICAGO, IL – July 16, 2019 – On July 13, 2019, A Safe Haven Foundation held its 9th Annual 5k Run to End Homelessness at Montrose Harbor. Beautiful weather created an idyllic setting along the lakefront as runners, walkers and advocates from all parts of the city gathered to help eradicate homelessness and support the most vulnerable among us. The entire event was uplifting and fun filled, leaving everyone who attended enthused and ready to return next year!

Mayor Lori Lightfoot served as Grand Marshall, rousing the crowd and almost every major network as she brought attention to the social and economic challenges facing our city while offering hope for a sustainable solution. Alderman James Cappelman, District Host and a member of the record breaking 123 member Honorary Host Committee of bi-partisan elected officials who made a pledge of support for the race to end homelessness.

ABC 7’s Chicago Celebrity Sportscaster Dionne Miller served as event emcee for the third year in a row. The morning kicked off with an energetic and invigorating Zumba class led by Total Natural Fit’s Norma Zambrano and her team. A patriotic surge filled the crowd as Benjamin Weiss, the son of A Safe Haven Advisory Board member and music and media producer Lynn Orman, gave a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.

Neli Vazquez Rowland, President and Co-founder of A Safe Haven and event producer welcomed and thanked the runners and walkers and she introduced Mayor Lori Lightfoot who shared her vision and commitment to ending homelessness in our City. She then led the countdown and blew the horn to set the runners and walkers on their way. An impressive team of United States Army military recruits formed an inspiring scene as they led the race from the front lines, running in formation and in cadence with a flag bearer, gathering cheers and support from runners and supporters along the way.

Following the race, Edward Hensley, a combat military veteran shared a riveting and inspiring story of sheer grit, determination and resolve in overcoming major life challenges. He came to the event to both speak and run on his birthday to keep his promise to those who helped him to pay it forward! He told his two-part story. First that upon returning from the military, he survived and overcame a life of homelessness to become a corporate executive, today. He then became a prolific marathoner until he broke his hip at Mile 24 of the 2017 Chicago Marathon and against all odds with the help of Chicago police officers he finished and then returned to becoming a successful marathoner despite doctors’ admonitions that he would never run again.

Dan Patlak, Cook County Board of Review Commissioner, 5k Honorary Host Committee Member and the captain of the Dan Patlak Republicans Team marks his fifth consecutive year he has won awards for both the  categories of largest team and largest fundraising team. All of the proceeds of his team are dedicated to helping the homeless military veterans residing at A Safe Haven. Upon receiving the award with his wife Dulce, he renewed his commitment to come back and do it again next year. Not one to boast, Dan Patlak’s actions throughout the year truly demonstrate and exemplify the type of leadership that walks the talk with regards to using his powerful platform and fundraising network to help raise the visibility of the plight of our homeless neighbors in need and especially on behalf of our homeless military veterans.

Ken Garvey of Garvey Office Products created a stir among the spectators as he presented an oversized check to Neli Vazquez Rowland, President and Co-Founder of A Safe Haven, marking a donation of more than $7,000.00 from a fundraising campaign they did in advance of the 5k.

Upon their return from the 5k RUN/WALK all participants were greeted by A Safe Haven catering team as they worked up a hardy appetite and got a chance to try some tasty delights and then rave about the mouthwatering offerings including yogurt parfaits, kale and quinoa salad and miniature vegetarian tacos.

The top Male Runner was Patrick Woodford (16:34.63) and the top Female Runner award went to Parvathi Meyyappan (20:34.11). The top overall 50 runners received two 3-day passes to the Riot Fest, valued at over $400.00. The top individual donor was A Safe Haven Board member Dina Lieber.

“Thank you everyone for showing up to support A Safe Haven’s mission. At A Safe Haven our team works tirelessly 365/7/24 to address and solve homelessness for men, women and children in crisis, this is the only day of the year that we ask others to show up with us to raise more awareness and support for the cause. This year we were extremely grateful to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Honorary Host Committee, the Sponsors, and the Media and to all of the folks who came out to cheer, walk, run or volunteer in solidarity with us to support the cause. We couldn’t do it without the support of our partners and fellow advocates. Solving homelessness is a team effort. On this day, we definitely made thousands of steps in the right direction towards helping more people achieve their dreams” -Neli Vazquez Rowland, President, A Safe Haven Foundation.

A Safe Haven Foundation next event is the 25 Year Anniversary Gala “A Legacy of Excellence” will be held at the Drake Hotel on November 16th, 2019. For Details & Sponsorship Opportunities Visit: Here


Event Photo Gallery: Here