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Turkey Trotting for Animal Rescue

FORTY FORT, Pa. -- Tim's Turkey Trot in Luzerne County benefitted a lot more than just the runners who came out for the Thanksgiving Day race last week.

Before they sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner last week, runners took to the streets of Luzerne County for a five-mile race, the sixth annual Tim's Turkey Trot, sponsored by Leverage Fitness Studio.

Erin Tanner is a race director and a manager there.

"People look forward to it, both locally and people who travel out of town. One of our furthest participants comes from Canada," Tanner said.

The race started and ended at Leverage on Welles Street in Forty Fort, where owner Tim Hlivia says a record number of runners showed up to trot.

"We feel like it's a great way to get everyone together to start off the holiday season," Hlivia said.

Riley was there, too, along with Newswatch 16's Kerry Brazen.

Race officials decided that proceeds from the Turkey Trot this year would go to Blue Chip Animal Refuge in Dallas, a place Riley once called home.

She now belongs to Cindy Charnetski, a Leverage member and Blue Chip volunteer.

"We pride ourselves on really getting to know our animals, their likes and dislikes, their personalities, and matching them with their perfect person or family," Charnetski said.

Cindy tells us it has been an especially difficult year at Blue Chip financially, citing a 40 percent increase in intakes, especially strays, so the vet bills have been, in her words, astronomical.

Blue Chip runs entirely on donations and volunteer efforts.

"Without community support and involvement and events like this, we would never be able to do what we do for the animals, or take in as many animals as we do," Charnetski said.

Hlivia says that's what his business is all about -- a community taking care of their neighbors while keeping themselves fit.

"We can't guarantee longevity, but we like to do what we can to stack the deck in our favor, to make sure we're healthy and strong for a longer time," Hilivia said.

They're still tallying how much money was raised at the Turkey Trot for Blue Chip.

Kerry Brazen's 16 To The Rescue segment will be from Blue Chip this week on Friday, on Newswatch 16 at 5:30.

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