The 2019 HERO CAMPAIGN

presented by Brooks

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The Run to Remember was founded in 2002 to honor the extraordinary heroism, commitment and sacrifice of the victims, survivors and rescuers of the events of 9/11. Since then, the race has raised more than $400,000 for the Baltimore City Police Foundation and Baltimore City Fire Foundation. The organizations assist families who have lost loved ones in the line of duty and we proudly support them.

For the 5th year, we are running the Hero Campaign - a way to recognize the individuals who are everyday heroes in our lives. The campaign leads up to race day for the Mercy Run to Remember 5K & 11K presented by Brooks on Sunday, September 8th. We know there are individuals out there who do great things each and every day keeping our communities safe and inspiring many to be the best they can be. We think it's time to say "thanks."


2019 hero finalists

The following four individuals have been selected as finalists for the 2019 Hero Campaign presented by Brooks. You can vote for a winner below.

val jenkins

Val Jenkins is the founder of Hug Don't Shoot, a local Baltimore non-profit that seeks to bring a sense of peace to the community, “One Hug at a Time.” The organization was born out of Val’s frustration with the city’s high crime rate and an enduring conviction that things could get better by spreading compassion and empathy throughout communities. Val does not allow her brain disease to stop her, she works tirelessly every day, to bring peace, love, and unity one hug at a time. Val and her team of "Hug Dealers", to date, has collaborated with numerous organizations, hosted and participated in over 500+ events throughout the city of Baltimore. Val's belief and mission for Hug Don't Shoot is that the world needs to be reminded of humility, compassion, and empathy. A hug, smile, and conversation can help to change someone’s course in life. Val invites everyone from all walks of life, nationalities, cultures, LGBT communities, etc. to join her team of Hug Dealers. On August 3rd, Val and her organization Hug Don’t Shoot created a powerful human chain across Baltimore, declaring the desire to end gun violence in Baltimore and beyond! This momentous occasion symbolizes the second anniversary for Hug Don’t Shoot.

jessica Santora-Sikorski

My daughter-in-law Jessica, moved to our community 2 years ago. A marathon runner, coach, middle school math teacher and Girls Who Code mentor is always looking to make the lives of others better and brighter. Wanting to share her love of running with those who teach in our community she offered her coaching expertise but not at a cost that she would be paid. If you wanted to join her many running clubs and training sessions - you had to commit to giving back and helping others by donating the money you would have paid for her service - to a charity that helps others. This summer almost $1000 was donated to St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis and over $200 was raised for the K9 Semper Fi organization and she is not done yet. More and more of our teaching community are signing up for her training to get out there and run, be it for your health or a marathon that will help others. Again, none of the money goes to Jessica but instead to a charity. She works so hard to make others healthy and feel good about themselves and never asks for anything for her time or her energy. When they donate to the causes that she suggests, they tell her how good their hearts feel as well. In today's world where people seem to only think of themselves, Jessica is a true exception.

Donald Slimmer

As a 18-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Dept, Lieutenant Donald Slimmer strives every day to make changes in an effort to make Baltimore a better place to live and work. Lt. Slimmer has worked across varies districts across the city and is known by many citizens, business owners, and his peers, as someone who is always visible, approachable, caring, honest, has integrity, and will do his very best to protect and serve. Before recently returning to patrol, Lt. Slimmer worked in the Department's Education and Training division, creating and teaching, a comprehensive medical training program to better prepare officers to treat and stabilize injuries, overdoses, and medical emergencies while in the field, until EMS may arrive on the scene. These skills have been invaluable to officers on the streets and lives have been saved as a result of this training. Lt. Slimmer has established relationships with Shock Trauma and the Baltimore City Health Department to share these trainings. Lt. Slimmer has extended his teachings, such as CPR and First Aid, to community groups as well. Additionally, Lt. Slimmer has helped build mandatory leadership training programs for BPD to teach leadership skills to current and future BPD supervisors. These trainings can only lead to better interactions within the community. Through education, training, and his daily interactions, Lt. Donald Slimmer is an unsung community hero to the City of Baltimore and deserves to be recognized.

Tom Ceiri

Several years ago a gentlemen accompanied his wife to my group run....it was hills. He thought he could handle anything running-wise even though he didn’t consider himself a real runner. Then he ran hill repeats with me. From that day he was hooked on training. He has become one of the most valuable members of our running community in more ways than one. He is always the first to introduce himself to new members, and will always lend a helping hand to all runners and the coaches, often times carrying multiple coolers to cars. Tom always has word of encouragement and stays to cheer until the last person crosses the finish line or end their workout. He also happens to be a firefighter. Last year he ran portion of the Baltimore Marathon Relay. While waiting to start a runner went into cardiac arrest. Tom saved this man’s life, mid-race!!! Last May he received a commendation for his off-duty heroism and was able to meet the gentleman whose life he saved. He says, “all in day’s work.” I say the world needs more Tom Ceiris. I always say he is my favorite Tom and now Baltimore City agrees as he just won Firefighter of the year.


Voting is now closed. Please stay tuned for our 2019 Hero Campaign Overall Winner to be announced at the post-race awards ceremony of the Mercy Run to Remember 5K & 11K presented by Brooks.


2018 Hero Campaign

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Congratulations to our 2018 Hero Campaign finalists - Sarah Mattos, Mike Jones, Scott Legore, Lara Cooper & Tracy Anderson.