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Superheroes on the run for CASA

POSTED: November 4, 2013 10:12 p.m.
Photo by Paul Floeckher/

Andrew and Angel Vaccaro dressed as Finn and Fiona from “Adventure Time.”

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It was in Guyton rather than Gotham, but Batman answered the call on Saturday.

So did Robin. And Superman. And Spider-Man, Wonder Woman and Thor, to name a few.

Dozens of caped crusaders participated in the first Guyton Superhero Run for CASA, to benefit the Court Appointed Special Advocate program for the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.

Though the entry fees from the 50 runners in the 5K race and 21 more in the one-mile fun run/walk raised money for CASA, the primary goal was to educate about the program.

"This is all about creating awareness," said Ogeechee Circuit CASA executive director Lainie Jenkins "Other CASAs in Georgia and the country are doing superhero runs, so it’s pretty much a national effort to build awareness."

Local CASA volunteers advocate in court for abused and neglected children in Effingham, Bulloch, Jenkins and Screven counties. They speak for a child’s best interests and strive to have the child placed in an appropriate, permanent home.

The first-time event attracted runners from Effingham and surrounding counties, many of whom dressed in costume. Jackie Goulette of Ellabell ran the race in a Batman ensemble and her twin sister Jennifer Minis came as Superman.

"We’ve always kind of been into superheroes, and we thought it would be something fun to do," Goulette said. "We like to run, we thought it would be fun and it was for a good cause."

Along with helping CASA, the sisters apparently also settled an age-old question: Who is the better superhero, Superman or Batman?

"Superman is," Minis said with a laugh, basing that on her 12-place finish in the 5K with a time of 27 minutes, 18 seconds. Her Batman-attired sister placed 16th at 29:49.

"She beat me," Goulette acknowledged.

The banter was all in fun, part of the morning’s friendly competition. Lamar Hall took home the trophy as the overall winner with a time of 19 minutes, 36 seconds, and Salena Calhoun was the top women’s finisher at 25:43.

However, no one lost sight of the event’s serious message. Jenkins reiterated that, for the first year of the race/fun run, "our concern this year was building awareness."

Shari Morris of Statesboro, who knows Jenkins through their work on the Bulloch County Commission on Human Services, came away impressed by CASA. She said she plans to volunteer with the organization, and become more actively involved in a few years after she retires from her job with the Georgia Department of Labor.

In particular, Morris said, she wants to be a CASA volunteer to help combat the people who take in foster children simply for the financial benefits.

"I want to make sure that they’re being received in these homes for the right reasons — that they’re wanted, not just for money," Morris said. "It just kills me to think that they’re there for the money and not treated well."

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