Wednesday, April 15th, 2009
By Nancy Allen
Outdoor fundraiser planned on Franklin Township trail
  The Mercer County DARE Boosters and Franklin Township trustees will hold the first ever Family Fun DARE Walk-a-Thon on May 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Franklin Township Park in Montezuma.
Walkers, bicyclists and skaters can collect monetary pledges for the DARE program and then take to the Franklin Township trails. Participants can sign up for the number of minutes or miles they want to complete or have sponsors contribute an agreed upon amount.
There currently are 6.5 miles of paved trail in the township that winds through park land, Windy Point, along state Route 219 and over a covered bridge.
DARE Officer Bud McFarlin said he and Kip Wright, a longtime friend and DARE Booster, came up with the event.
"The main goal we wanted when we first talked about this is to have a Saturday afternoon when the family can come out and spend time together whether they're walking the trail or riding a bike without the interference of TV or the phone ringing," McFarlin said. "A time where kids and parents can spend quality time together."
Wright said he thought the event also would be a good way to show off the trail and get people outdoors.
McFarlin said he hopes the event becomes an annual fundraiser for DARE. The program educates elementary children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The program recently lost the sponsor that for the last 10 years paid for DARE T-shirts for all youths completing the program.
"We are going to be doing projects throughout the year raising money because we want to make sure those kids get DARE shirts," he added. "It's a program I really believe in."
Registration forms for the walk-a-thon are available at all elementary schools in Mercer and Auglaize counties or at the DARE office in Celina on Riley Street.
Participants can register between 8:30 and 9 a.m. at the park shelterhouse, located off state Route 219 behind the Catholic church. Refreshments will be provided by township trustees.
No motorized vehicles except handicapped scooters and wheelchairs are permitted.

If you go:
What: Family Fun DARE Walk-a-Thon
Where: Meet at Franklin Township Park, Montezuma
When: Registration, 8:30 a.m.; starts, 9 a.m.
Registration forms: Available at Mercer County DARE office, Riley Street in Celina (next to senior center)
More info: Call DARE office, 419-586-6074
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