HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It has become a time-honored tradition in Huntsville, but this year someone is missing from the Paper Chase 5K Race.
“This is the first year since Eula passed on. My wife was one of the founders of Free 2 Teach, Executive Director for 10-15 years, and just loved it, loved the call,” Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said.
“It’s emotional to be here and just remember how much the race meant to her,” Free 2 Teach Executive Director Alison Kling added.
Just shy of 300 people signed up to take part in the 8th annual race benefiting the Huntsville-based non profit, Free 2 Teach.
“This is our most significant fundraiser of the year. It’s an incredible way to get students, teachers, administrators, all of our support to team to come together for this really great race,” Kling said.
The organization provides resources and school supplies free of charge to thousands of teachers in the Madison County schools system. Heather Clecker is one of those teachers. She is based at Madison County Elementary.
“There are so many things that have ended up in the hands of my students they would not have if not for Free 2 Teach. Immediately when we get new staff we’re like, ‘go sign up for Free 2 Teach, get signed up,’ We can go every other month and we pretty much go on schedule every other month,” Cleckler said.
Kling said the race is a great way for the community to support the non-profit that in turn gives back to teachers.
“Sometimes you’re not sure exactly how to support if you’re not on a PTA or your child isn’t in a classroom. This is a way for the entire community to support of public school children,” she said.
Each step runners took Saturday morning is down a path Eula created to help the education community. It’s a tradition organizers pledge to continue for years to come.
“It’ s a big moment for us to kind of carry the legacy forward that she gave us,” Kling said.