Run 4 Hill's fall tour headed to Finger Lakes


By Patsy Nicosia

If a tour through the Finger Lakes—complete with a stop at a couple of wineries—all in the name of a good cause sounds like the perfect way to spend the last weekend of summer, you’re in luck.
Hero Fund America’s 2019 Finger Lakes Tour for First Responders is taking registrations for its third annual event through September 13.
This year’s tour, September 20-22, will begin in Utica with a cocktail meet-and-greet Friday at the home of the Community Foundation of Oneida & Herkimer Counties, which oversees and administers Hero Fund America’s grants.
Saturday, the event will pull out of Utica at 9:30am, taking a leisurely route through the Finger Lakes region before wrapping up in Skaneateles.
The tour is limited to the first 50 teams to register at
The cost includes t-shirts for two, a swag bag, car decals and lunch on the first day.
A trophy will be awarded to the team with the best overall time and mileage and an “All Things Sharon Springs” gift basket valued at more than $800 will go to the team that raises the most money for the event.
“Because it’s a lot of fun and a great time, but in the end, it’s a fundraiser for HFA,” said Patty Johnstone, one of the organization’s board members and HFA secretary.
The Hero Fund America Fall Tour is a sister event to HFA’s Run 4 the Hills for First Responders, created by founder Garth Roberts after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as a way to support education, training, and equipment for fire departments, rescue squads, and law enforcement agencies.
With that in mind, as in previous years--in 2017, the tour traveled from the Sharon Springs Firehouse to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City and in ’18, north into the Adirondacks—there will also be stops at a couple of firehouses for demonstrations and tours.
“Last year, we saw some fast-water demonstrations,” Ms. Johnstone said. “It’s always amazing what these different departments do, how much training is involved, and how invested they are in being volunteers. We always leave inspired.”
The deadline for this year’s grant applications is also September 13.
HFA supports projects and programs that directly support the education, training, and life-saving equipment needs of first responders.
Grants top out at $1,000.
For more information on the grants or to apply, go to
Scroll down to Targeted Community Grant Opportunities, scroll down past the boxes and click on Hero Fund America Grants.
For more information on the tour or HFA, contact Mr. Roberts at (518) 928-6998, Garth@HeroFundAmerica.orgor Ms. Johnstone at (518) 231-1751, or