Monday, April 25, 2016

Gloucester Pride Stride

Hundreds gathered at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester yesterday to participate in the 29th Annual Gloucester Pride Stride Walk. This Cape Ann tradition has helped raise awareness over the decades of many non-profit organizations; which in turn has helped generate new volunteers and more than $1 million in assistance since 1988.

At the start of the event, as in year’s past, I had an opportunity to read a poem written by the late Peter Todd, a Gloucester native and former Poet Laureate of the city. Prior to his passing, Peter selected the poem and gave it to City Counselor Melissa Cox, Pride Stride’s President, to be read at this year’s event.

I was happy to host a water station to rehydrate the many walkers and volunteers along the route. The two mile walk along the boulevard and through downtown Gloucester, celebration, and cookout gave us all a chance to see old friends, make new ones and be inspired by the amazing volunteerism that make Cape Ann a great place to be.

Gloucester Pride Stride was established to bring people together in a friendly and fun effort to help other non-profits successfully pursue their charitable missions. This year, and for the previous two years, the day activates generated more than $35,000 to be shared by such groups as: North Shore Health Project, Open Door, Cape Ann Animal Aid, Relay for Life, the East Gloucester School PTO, and dozens more. There was even a large group of Rockport firefighters wearing full turnout gear walking to help support the Rockport Firemen's Association. The association’s relief account was created to help firefighters and their families in need during tragic times.

Thanks to the Pride Stride organizers, their sponsors and fantastic volunteers, and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, for making this annual event such a success.