Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church celebrated its fifth annual Run for the Son 5K and 1 mile children’s run/walk and health fair Saturday at the Bauer Community Center.

Event chairman Elizabeth Chavana said the event was a huge success with approximately 300 registered participants for the early morning run.

“Run for the Son gets bigger every year,” said Chavana. “We have been able to add more to the health fair and also invited the South Texas Blood Bank so that they can receive donations.”Names of every paid runner and health vendor were entered into $100 gift card door prize drawings that were given out every hour for 4 hours. Top runners also received personalized medals and top winners received gift cards.

OLG Catholic School language arts teacher Susan De La Garza gave her fifth through eighth grade students a special incentive for participating in the event.

“I think I counted 17 of my 43 middle school students who participated. The kids who ran will get a free reading log, or homework pass. Those who finished before me will get a second pass,” said De La Garza. “The kids really get excited about the freebie. Who doesn’t love a free homework pass?”

De La Garza has been walking every day for the last three years. She enjoys getting the students involved in physical fitness and with the church.

“They all take off at the beginning of the race, but my favorite part is catching up to them at about the halfway mark when they’ve all slowed down,” she said. They all panic and take off running again. This year, I even had parents and Sister Immaculata trying to stop me from catching up to them.”

De La Garza has been teaching language arts to middle school students at OLG for six years.

Chavana said she believes everyone enjoys the event for different reasons.

“Some come to strictly run the race, others come to enjoy the company and of course the wonderful food and health fair booths,” she said. “I saw lots of happy people and lots of comments on social media.”

The event hosted numerous vendors, health information, children’s games, raffles auctions and more. Money raised will benefit the OLG Catholic Church Capital Campaign towards renovations recently completed. The exact figure is still being calculated but estimated funds raised reached approximately $38,000.

“Even though 100% of our proceeds go towards our church, we do enjoy giving back to those who support us,” said Chavana.

Fr. Tommy Chen said “We are very grateful for the community of Calhoun County and beyond for their support. Without the community, this event would not have been successful for five years. It is a testament to the generosity and goodness of the people here.”

Sarita Bonuz and Desiree Cardona also chaired the event under the direction of Fr. Chen. Results of the 5K run and 1-mile children’s walk will be published in the Wednesday, April 10, edition of The Port Lavaca Wave.