March Newsletter

The WFHM & 5K Returns! 🏃🏃‍♀️

Nearly 800 Participants Run and Walk for Wendell Foster

It was a cold, windy morning on March 23rd, 2024, when nearly 800 participants returned to the starting line to run or walk in the 5th Annual Wendell Foster Half Marathon & 5K. It had been 15 months since the last WFHM & 5K, and the anticipation was undeniable. 15 months of tirelessly planning for this race, 15 months of meticulous preparation, and 15 months of runners training to achieve one singular goal all came down to this moment...the starting siren. Jake Boswell, our WFHM & 5K Emcee, began the final countdown. "10, 9, 8, 7...." It was finally here.


"Ready...set...GO!" 📢


As the siren blared, participants took their first steps across the finish line. For some, it was the beginning of a 13.1-mile journey. For others, the journey was 3.1 miles. But for many, the journey was about much more than miles. It was about achieving the impossible, running for a purpose, and being a part of something much larger than themselves. It's about seeing Wendell Foster residents cheering you on at Mile One, reminding you why you're here. It's the feeling of running past volunteers screaming your name, pumping you up for that last mile. It's the indescribable emotion of crossing that finish line. It's watching a Steps Division participant complete their year-long journey and receive their medal alongside their fellow runners. These moments are what make the journey worth it.


You may hear the WFHM & 5K Race Committee say, "This is more than just a race." Until you've experienced it yourself, you may not understand what those words mean. But once you're a participant, volunteer, or even a spectator, you'll feel the magic of our community coming together to support Wendell Foster's mission and most importantly, to support one another.


As we reflect on this truly special day, we have so many we'd like to thank. To our athletes and their families, the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time at the Expo and on race day, our dedicated sponsors, countless city officials, and the community of Owensboro, thank you for welcoming us back with open arms. You showed up and showed out for Wendell Foster, and made this a race to remember. We can't wait for race day 2025!

Thank you to these Difference Makers who made the WFHM & 5K possible! 💙💚

Our Presenting Sponsor, Owensboro Health & All Other Sponsors!

DJ: Blue Line Entertainment

Photography: Inzaption Photos

Videography: Wonder Boy Media

Official After Party: Goodwood Brewing

Our many, many volunteers and supporters!

Click HERE for 2024 Race Results!🏅

"Yes, You Can!" 💥

March Rooster Booster Sponsored by Wendell Foster

It was an impactful morning at March 7th's Rooster Booster Breakfast, sponsored by Wendell Foster! The breakfast is hosted each month by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, and this is the fourth year Wendell Foster has sponsored in honor of National Disability Awareness Month. We believe the breakfast is an opportunity to share our mission with over 300 community members who attend Rooster Booster, while also sharing some inspiration that others can take with them into their daily lives.


Of course, we had to celebrate the many different Yes! Moments achieved by our care recipients at Wendell Foster! Wendell Foster CEO Doug Hoyt opened the program by sharing some of these Yes! Moments with the crowd...and then we had a little fun by introducing our Celebration Minute! Similar to the Mingle Minute, attendees were encouraged to get out of their seats, find a person they didn't know, and share their own personal Yes! Moments with one another. A few of these Yes! Moments were then shared to the crowd by our "Secret Celebration Shakers" in the audience. We loved hearing the achievements of our peers, and recognizing that all Yes! Moments are worth celebrating, both big and small.

After an update from Chamber President and CEO Candance Castlen Brake, our guest speaker, Russell Hoyt, shared his family's inspiring story. Russell is the son of Dick Hoyt and the brother of Rick Hoyt, also known as the legendary racing duo Team Hoyt. Despite his challenges from cerebral palsy, the Hoyt Family insisted that Rick be included in the sports he was passionate about. From swimming to hockey and even mountain climbing, if Rick asked to participate, the Hoyts said, "Yes You Can!" In middle school, Rick learned of a charity race benefitting a local lacrosse player paralyzed in an accident. When Rick asked his dad, Dick, to push him in his wheelchair for the five-mile race, the answer was, "YES!" The Hoyts finished second to last in that race, and Rick told his father, "Dad, when I'm running, it feels like my disability disappears." This ignited a passion in both of the Hoyts to continue racing, with the father and son team completing over 1,000 endurance events, including 72 marathons, 32 Boston Marathons, and six Ironman Triathlons. Dick and Rick sadly passed away in 2021 and 2023, but Russell continues their legacy as President and CEO of The Hoyt Foundation. The Foundation aims to include people with disabilities in all facets of daily life, especially in sports and other recreational activities. Russell believes that just like Dick and Rick, we all can achieve hard things. Russell told our Rooster Booster crowd that if you ask yourself, "Can I do this?" the answer is, "YES YOU CAN!"


To end this morning of Yes! Moments, we revisited a journey we started at last March's Rooster Booster. Our Steps Division Ambassadors were back to practice crossing the finish line at the race! Peyton, Harrison, and Jenny took their lap around the German American Ballroom and crossed our mock finish line as the crowd cheered them on (a huge thank you to the City of Owensboro for the use of their inflatable arch). The Steps Ambassadors left feeling pumped up and ready to cross the real finish line on race day.

(Left) Steps Ambassador Jenny couldn't stop smiling as she began her lap around the ballroom. (Middle) Yes! Moments from our care recipients were placed at each table, along with cookies that mimic our WFHM & 5K medals. (Right) The energy was contagious as Steps Ambassador Peyton crossed the finish line with the crowd!

This morning wouldn't be possible without the support of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce! Thank you to Julia, Candance, and the entire Chamber staff for allowing us to sponsor this event. We are always grateful for the chance to share our mission with Greater Owensboro!


Thank you to our vendors for their help in making this event a success:

🏃‍♀️ Inflatable Arch: The City Of Owensboro 

🍪 Cookies: The Bee’s Knees Bakery + Goods LLC 

🏁 Finish Line Banner: Greenwell Chisholm

Getting Race Day Ready! 🖍️🎨

OC Crusaders and Leadership Wesleyan Volunteer

It takes a village to put on the Wendell Foster Half Marathon & 5K. Every year, nearly 300 volunteers come together to make our race successful. But we can't forget about our volunteers working behind the scenes to help with all the little details before race day. We were thrilled to have students from the Owensboro Catholic Aces Crusaders and Leadership Wesleyan program assist our residents with making motivational race day posters! Each year, participants in both the half marathon and 5K divisions run through Wendell Foster at Mile One of the race route. Residents are present on the sidelines, holding posters and cheering on the 800 runners who run in honor of Wendell Foster.


We are always amazed at the witty phrases on the posters, and this year was no different! Both volunteer groups brainstormed the funniest sayings, such as "Need me to call an Uber?" One of our favorite posters, designed by a Leadership Wesleyan student, was inspired by the movie Up! Featuring the famous balloon house from the movie, the poster reads "Never Give UP!" Runners always say that seeing our residents at Mile One is the most memorable part of the WFHM & 5K, and these posters add to the fun and motivational atmosphere on campus.


Thank you to all of our volunteers for helping our residents motivate runners on race day! 🏃‍♂️🏃‍♀️ You are #WFDifferenceMakers!

Whitesville Lions Club Pie Auction 🥧

Don't miss the Whitesville Lions Club Chili Supper & Pie Auction coming up on April 19th at the Whitesville Senior Citizen Center! 🥧 Serving of chili, hot dogs, and drinks will begin at 5 pm, with the Pie Auction starting at 6 pm. This is a favorite event of Wendell Foster's, and we are so excited to see all the yummy baked goods and sweet treats that are up for auction! 😋


If you are interested in donating a pie or other desserts, baked goods can be dropped off at the Senior Citizen Center before 4 pm on the day of the Pie Auction. For additional inquiries on donating a dessert on behalf of Wendell Foster, please contact Gabby Bradley at gbradley@wendellfoster.org.


Thank you to the Whitesville Lions Club for supporting our mission of empowering people with disabilities! 💙

2023 Annual Report

Feeling Lucky in March! 🍀

We're LUCKY to be Wendell Foster Difference Makers! 💚

1. Jimmy tried the OC Cinnaburger from the Opportunity Center of Owensboro during Burger Week!


2. Corey met all kinds of spooky creatures during Horror Con in Evansville.


3. Josh went on a shopping trip and picked out a new coloring book!

4. Aktion Club volunteered their time at the Help Office in Owensboro.


5. Marcus was all smiles as he enjoyed the beautiful spring weather.


6. Greta sang her heart out at Karaoke Night!

Celebrate With Us in 2024! 🎉

For 76 years, our focus has been to provide children and adults with disabilities with the tools, education, therapies, and support to reach their dreams and potential.

As a leader in serving those with disabilities, we provide cutting-edge support to over 2,000 people in 37 counties across Western Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Our Vision is to be the premier provider of rehabilitative, community-based, and residential services.
Donate Today!

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