VALLE VISTA: “Fun Run with First Responders” perfect way to end school’s first “100 Mile Club” challenge

Emergency first responders joined Valle Vista Elementary School students for the “Fun Run with First Responders” event. Front row from left to right: Deputy Roger Loza, Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown, Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown and Riverside Sheriff’s Captain Leonard Purvis pose with students. Principal Christine Ramirez is seen on the left side of the group. HUSD photo

VALLE VISTA – The words “fun” and “run” are rarely associated with each other, except when spoken with a sarcastic tone of voice. However, according to Hemet Unified School District officials, there is no better way to describe the recent family event “Fun Run with First Responders,” than to say it was “pure fun!”

The three-hour event was held at Valle Vista Elementary School, April 28. Not only was the event a great chance for students to meet some of their local first responders, it was the prefect opportunity for students who registered for the school’s first “100 Mile Club” to finish their personally set mileage goals by the end of the school year.

Students, parents, teachers, school administrators and first responders enjoyed the event. HUSD photo

The guests of honor were well represented by police and fire professionals from several local law enforcement and fire protection agencies.

Those in attendance included Riverside County Sheriff’s Captain Leonard Purvis and Deputy Roger Loza from the department’s Hemet Station, Hemet PD’s Chief of Police Dave Brown and Hemet Fire Department’s Chief Scott Brown.

Firefighters from Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire’s Valle Vista Station were also among first responders in attendance.

During the event, students, family members and first responders got to set their own pace and were able to walk or run together in groups. Many participants were seen talking, laughing and joking while walking or jogging with friends – both new and old – from around the community. Others were seen encouraging the children towards reaching their 100 Mile Club goals.

One of the most exciting parts of the day for many of the children was getting to meet Deputy Loza and get “up close and personal” with him and his patrol vehicle. During the event, Deputy Loza brought his police cruiser onto the school grounds and left it open for children to climb in, touch and explore.

Riverside Sheriff’s Deputy Loza shows off his police cruiser to those in attendance during last April’s Fun Run with First Responders event. HUSD photo

While some of the children took turns pushing the numerous interior buttons, turning on the overhead, red and blue flashing lights and moving the cruiser’s side-mounted spotlights, others could be seen sitting in the driver’s seat of the black and white – chasing imaginary “bad guys” from behind the wheel of the police cruiser.

After the fun and successful event, District officials thanked all those involved in organizing, supplying and hosting the run.

“The event wouldn’t have been such a wonderful success if it wasn’t for the help and support from local businesses and community members,” Hemet Unified School District Public Information Officer Alexandrea Cass explained.

Among others who donated or brought supplies for the event was Rich Biber, community relations liaison for Physicians for Healthy Hospitals. Biber brought 20 cases of water donated by Hemet Hospital for those participating in the event. He also brought backpacks for every student registered in the 100 Mile Club.

Additionally, Winco donated a gift card so the event organizers could purchase and provide bananas for all the runners.

“Every student should feel success”

The 100 mile club, which school teacher Kara Lubin created in her class room 24 years ago, issues students the straightforward challenge to run, jog or walk 100 miles over the course of the school year. Throughout the year, students log their miles during runs designated and organized by the participating schools.

Dr. Christine Ramirez, Valle Vista’s new principle, was excited to introduce the 100 Mile Club to her newest students. HUSD photo

New Valle Vista Principal Dr. Christine Ramirez, who is enjoying her fifteenth year as an educator, was excited to bring the 100 Mile Club to her newest students. Valle Vista was the fourth school Dr. Ramirez introduced the program to.

Dr. Ramirez has said she has seen first-hand the benefits students receive from participating in a long-term challenge; especially one that pushes children to exercise, stay healthy and strive for specific, achievable goals.

Students who successfully reached their goals get to look forward to an upcoming awards ceremony, where they will be honored and receive recognition for the miles they completed throughout the year.

Students who completed 25 miles will be receiving a 100 Mile Club T-shirt. Those who finish 50 miles will receive a golden pencil, 75 milers will be receiving a commemorative wristband and those who complete the full 100 mile goal will receive a “gold medal.”

Students will receive their awards and honors at the 100 Mile Club awards ceremony, which is scheduled to be held during an assembly at the school this Monday, May 15.

Due in large part to her students’ participation in programs such as the 100 Mile Club, Ramirez said she has seen “attendance scores go up, confidence levels increase, and the overall culture of a school increase.”

“Every student should feel success,” Ramirez explained on the District’s webpage. “Whether it’s academically, through the 100 Mile Club, or through another program we offer. I want our students to feel encouraged as they complete goals they have set for themselves.”

Deputy Roger Loza, Valle Vista Elementary School Principal Dr. Christine Ramirez, Hemet Fire Chief Scott Brown, Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown, and Riverside Sheriff’s Captain Leonard Purvis man the finish line during the event. Leonard Purvis photo


Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.

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