YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: After running 25.6 miles from Ridgewood to the 9/11 memorial in downtown Manhattan last September, Fairview Police Chief Frank Del Vecchio is ready for a staggering charitable encore — a run of more than 100 miles in 30 hours to raise $1 million for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Del Vecchio, the founder of the Run for Hope Foundation, believes his efforts will bring awareness to the needs of many New York and New Jersey residents who lost household belongings amid Sandy’s fury.
“While insurance monies and federal funds are able to help rebuild a house, many people did not receive one penny to help them replace the furniture, appliances, and personal artifacts that Sandy destroyed,” the chief said today.
Although an active runner, Del Vecchio had never tackled a marathon before he completed last fall’s run in a tight 5 hours, 5 minutes.
His Sandy run begins on May 23.
The route begins, fittingly, in Moonachie and takes Del Vecchio through Little Ferry, Ridgefield Park, Ridgefield, Cliffside Park, Fairview, North Bergen, Edgewater, Weehawken, Hoboken, Jersey City and Bayonne, before he crosses the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island bound for the Goethals Bridge.
He’ll then continue from Elizabeth through Linden, Woodbridge, Sayreville and several shore towns before completing his journey in Seaside Heights around 3 in the afternoon on May 24.
Although it’s technically a solo run, Del Vecchio will have plenty of company: Several law enforcement agencies have pledged escorts –among them, the New Jersey State Police, Port Authority Police, the Bergen County Police Department and several local police forces.
Some officers will be on bike or in cruisers, while others will run short distances with him.
Emergency medical techs from Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck will remain on standby throughout the course.
“I’m in good physical and mental shape,” Del Vecchio said, citing last year’s 9/11 run, which raised $10,000.
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“This run will just be four times farther and will raise 10 times more money,” he said.
All money donated to the Run for Hope Foundation for the event will go directly to Sandy victims on a dollar-for-dollar basis. Those seeking funds can apply directly through the foundation website: www.runforhopefoundation.org
Del Vecchio said he was inspired to embark on the trek after speaking with Little Ferry Mayor Mauro Raguseo a few weeks after the storm. The Mayor described how breached levees in the Meadowlands sent a massive swell of brackish water through the southern portions of Little Ferry and Moonachie, flooding homes and causing massive property damage.
“Mayor Raguseo told me horror stories about his family and constituents who watched a 5-foot surge of water run through the middle of their suburban homes, destroying everything, including his own home,” said Del Vecchio. “Even now, six months after the storm, these people and small businesses still need assistance in getting their lives and businesses back to normal.
“The Run for Hope foundation can’t put people’s lives back together, but it can pick up the cost of items that most of us take for granted.”
ABOVE: CLIFFVIEW PILOT photos