HPOU provides sponsorship and runners for 4th Annual Katy Back to School 5K

Tom Kennedy, Editor
This is the start of last year’s Katy Back to School 5K that featured Ainsley’s Angels (wheel chaired competitors).

The Houston Police Officers Union has become one of the sponsors in a Labor Day (Sept. 2) event known as Katy Back to School 5K, benefitting Ainsley’s Angels.

A flock of HPOU members plan to be among the more than 500 runners who will participate.

There will be some of Ainsley’s Angels “rolling” their way from the start to the finish of this annual fundraiser, which coordinator Mike Masse hopes will take in more than $10,000.

“Ainsley’s Angels of America aims to build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life,” according to the organization’s mission statement. “Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, we believe everyone deserves to be included.”

Masse explained that every dollar raised will go toward advancing the athletic endeavors of special young people unable to run with their feet on the ground.

“There might be 10 wheelchair riders in our race,” Masse ventured to say. “We highlight them at the beginning of the race. Then send the able bodies after them. They all need a pusher. They are not able to push themselves.

“Here they actually get to experience some speed – the thrill of racing down the street.”

All runners in the event will start at 7:30 a.m. at Villagio Town Center. The 5K route runs on Peek Road between Westheimer Parkway and Highland Knolls.

The primary sponsor is the Katy Area Running Club, which includes HPOU members such as 1st Vice President Doug Griffith. Griffith will be among the early-rising participants as well as HPOU President Joe Gamaldi and HPOU Legal’s Lynette Coles. Legal’s Tina Drewke, also a Katy running club member, will be at the starting line.

Masse special awards will be presented to overall winners and age group winners. “Each award is a custom-made decorative tile we give out to the runners,” he said.

“We had 393 runners last year,” Masse said. “and we’re a little bit ahead in registrations right now. Last year in our race we had five Ainsley’s Angels and we probably will have 10 or 15 pushers available this year. We sign up two people pushing each Ainsley’s Angel entrant. They take turns. It’s a 5K – not a big deal.”

This is the fourth year of the race. Over the last three years he said the race has raised close to $20,000.

Masse said any HPOU member interested in working an extra job during the race should email him at Mikemasse89@gmail.com.