CALUMET TOWNSHIP - Amy Roberts is still recovering from being hit by a car while running on Sharon Avenue in Houghton in December 2011, but she was present to take part Saturday in a benefit 5K walk/run named in her honor.
Last year, the first Run Like the Finn benefit event raised money to help Roberts and her family pay for costs associated with her medical treatment, which involved quite a bit of travel. This year, Roberts wanted to change the focus of the event.
"I wanted to say 'thank you,' and give back to the community," she said.
Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette
Amy Roberts, with megaphone, gives encouragement to the 100-plus participants in the second annual Run Like the Finn event in Calumet Township Saturday. The event was created by friends and co-workers last year to raise funds to help cover medical and transportation costs for Roberts, who was struck by a car while running on Sharon Avenue in December 2011. With Roberts from left are co-workers and event organizers Ann Hoover, Dorothy Jamison, Sarah Niemela, in black cap and Diane Supanich.
This year money raised will go to the Copper Country Police and Fire Relief Fund, also known as the Pigs 'n Heat Fund.
More than 100 people registered to take part in the event, which started at the Calumet Township Fire Hall on Mine Street in Calumet Township. The course went through the village of Calumet.
Sarah Niemela, one of the organizers of the Run Like the Finn event and one of Roberts' co-workers at Aspirus Keweenaw Fitness and Rehabilitation in the Houghton office, said the Pigs 'n Heat Fund was chosen because of the organization's experience with helping people at times of emergency.
"It's what they do," she said.
One of the other organizers of the race and Roberts' co-worker, Ann Hoover, said the run was made possible by financial donations from the Campioni family, owners of Pat's Foods and Festival Foods, and Portage Health, which donated $1 for every registered participant.
Hoover said she was impressed with the community's help.
"It's amazing what small-town generosity is, and how people step up to the plate," she said.
Roberts said her rehabilitation is going well, and she hopes to be running again someday.
Two of Roberts' other co-workers, Melissa Thomas and Jenn Jenich, were taking part in the event Saturday.
Thomas, who didn't take part in the first Run Like the Finn event last year, said although the money raised this year won't go specifically to Roberts, she thinks it's still important to take part.
"We're here just to keep supporting her," she said.
Jenich said her co-workers have learned much from Roberts about persistence in overcoming a difficult situation.
"Amy's been such an inspiration for everybody," Jenich said. "She's come so far."