But the children of St. Mary’s didn’t have a mermaid to call their own. Carl Albero, a member of St. Mary’s Board, bid $5,000 at a fundraiser auction earlier this year to get them a mermaid, and one of his granddaughters also helped paint the mermaid today. Mason is using just part of the mermaid money to pay for materials; the rest will go to support the nonprofit Home because Mason is donating her time and talent to the project.
A fleet of life rafts, jogger strollers and beach buggies covered the grass at Neptune’s Park on 31st St. in Virginia Beach for several hours Saturday. Team Hoyt VB had set up camp for the 10th annual Allen Stone Memorial Run-Swim-Run, tackling sand and sea for the first time to take enthusiastic participants on an added adventure.
Team Hoyt VB goes on runs with residents of St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children and other children and young adults with disabilities from the community. Members have completed nine running events over the past two years, so they’re used to the logistics of a typical race. Introducing beach buggies, life rafts, kayaks and life jackets, however, added a new dimension.
Runners, participants, families and volunteers showed up from across Hampton Roads, including The Noblemen, a local philanthropic group that provided many of the large jogger strollers. Two residents from St. Mary’s Home took part in the event, and St. Mary’s staff also reunited with some former residents who had moved on after turning 21. People cheered at the finish line for the 5K and at the water’s edge as crews helped participants back to their jogger strollers.
One of the parents described being involved with Team Hoyt VB last year as a gift of being “connected in community, service and spirit.” You couldn’t help but feel that way on Saturday.
Watch a WAVY-TV story about the run here: