8th Annual Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence

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“I saw what they did for people.” said Cy Young winner, former San Diego Padres’ pitcher Randy Jones, explaining the motivation for his involvement with the El Cajon’s Home of Guiding Hands, “I saw them help them out.” Jones was at his signature fundraiser for HGH, the Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence 5K on Feb. 17 at Crown Point Park.

“I saw what they did for people.” said Cy Young winner, former San Diego Padres’ pitcher Randy Jones, explaining the motivation for his involvement with the El Cajon’s Home of Guiding Hands, “I saw them help them out.” Jones was at his signature fundraiser for HGH, the Randy Jones Run/Walk for Independence 5K on Feb. 17 at Crown Point Park.

“This is our 8th annual run/walk. Our second year at Crown Point Park,” said Mark Klaus, president/CEO of HGH. “We raised over $50,000 this year. We help over 2,500 people and have a staff of 800.” Klaus said 450 walkers and runners were registered. The event is to support people with developmental disabilities in the community.

HGH board member and treasurer, Michael Harris, CEO of TriVant, was a runner and his wife, Cindi, who chaired the event, were both on hand before the race. Cindi Harris noted they started planning the event in November. Michael Harris said, “We keep getting bigger.” 

Klaus said they had 20 vendors ranging from Farm Fresh, 103.7 KSON, to the Tequila Factory. Tyler Welty, with Farm Fresh saying, “We like to do community events.”

Tables had the names of teams such as Quick Dry Flood that raised various amounts of money for the cause.

Winner of the race, Sally Cohenour, an educator at Gompers Preparatory Academy, brought 32 kids with her to run.  Cohenour said, “I’m trying to teach the kids about giving back to the community.” One of the students, 11-year-old sixth grader, Chris Pena, was one of the recipients of Cohenour’s cheering.  She cheered on all her kids as they came through the finish line. 

All walkers, runners and those in wheelchairs could receive their time via Infinity Timing.  Registered participants received a bib with a timing chip in it.

Stephen Cohen, 71, had another runner come up to him after the race telling him he had paced himself with Cohen.  Cohen is news director at KUSI. The Pod Squad had members in attendance as well as the over-sized Padre character figure.  The San Diego Padres also had a canopy set up to promote the up-and-coming season.  

An opportunity to meet and greet Randy Jones, a Cy Young award winner in 1976, and major league baseball pitcher for the San Diego Padres and the New York Mets was offered to all in attendance. Many still associate him with his BBQ sauce, Randy Jones Baseball BBQ Sauce, still offered in a limited capacity, and the restaurants he used to own in San Diego County. He noted he is semi-retired and has sold the restaurants. Jones’ uniform number, 35, was retired and you can see his number at Petco park every time you attend a game or event at the park in downtown San Diego.

El Cajon resident, Julia Alexander, 22, is a recipient of the services Home of Guiding Hands offers. “My goal is to get out more and be bold and wise in this world” she said. 

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