This week, staff writer Laura Rysz talks with Leslie Minicozzi Galacci about the Eighth annual Capt. James R. Minicozzi Memorial 5K Run/1-Mile Walk Race.

Residence: South Abington Twp.

Professional background: Co-owner of Alfredo’s Café

Title: Chairwoman

Q: Tell us about Cpt. James R. Minicozzi?

A: My brother, Cpt. James R. Minicozzi held numerous positions with the Army and was active duty in the Army National Guard. He was a pillar in our community. He was a member of the La Festa Italiana board of directors, UNICO, Gino J. Merli Veteran’s Center, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania and the American Cancer Society and the Pennsylvanians for Human Life board of directors chairman. He was a devoted to his family, community, country and church. One of Jimmy’s favorite times of the year was the volunteer work he did with UNICO at La Festa.

Q: What is included with participation?

A: The first 100 participants are guaranteed a race T-shirt, tote and sports bottle. They can register in advance at Participants can enjoy complimentary water, power drinks and fresh fruit at the registration table before and after the race. We also have a half-way water station for the runners in the course on North Washington Avenue. Awards will be presented to the first overall male and female runners and walkers, plus medals to the top three runners in each of these male and female categories: Ages 13 and younger, ages 14 to 19, ages 20 to 30, ages 31 to 40, ages 41 to 50, ages 51 to 60, and ages 61 and older. There also is an award presented to an active or veteran armed services member who is the first runner to cross the finish line, plus many gift certificates for overall and age group winners, which include overnight hotel stays, gym memberships and local restaurants. We reiterate every year for people to stay after they complete the event for the awards ceremony that follows at the main bandstand. You must be present to accept your prize.

Q: What was the inspiration for this event?

A: To honor Jim, the La Festa committee unanimously voted seven years ago to name the 5K Run/1-Mile Walk that he helped start in memory of him. My brother loved helping people in need. If great things were happening in our community things that no one knew about — chances were he was involved. His favorite quote was “Keep the faith!” and we have incorporated that as our race slogan because it reminds us that all things are possible. We especially “keep the faith” every year as race day approaches because the more participants and sponsors we can reach out to for donations helps us to continue to give back to the children in our community who benefit from the proceeds. It is a win-win all around.

Q: How much money are you hoping to raise?

A: Every year we set our goal at $10,000. We have been fortunate enough to reach that in previous years thanks to our very generous and wonderful community.

Q: How will the proceeds be used?

A: We have two beneficiaries that the race proceeds benefit. The first is the Boys & Girls Clubs of NEPA and scholarships to two students from West Scranton High School.

Q: What is special about this event?

A: We want everyone to remember that this day isn’t just about Cpt. James R. Minicozzi, it is about the real winners who the proceeds are going to benefit: the children at the Boys &Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania for their annual Christmas party and the graduates at West Scranton High School receiving our memorial scholarships toward their futures.

If you go

What: Eighth annual Capt. James R. Minicozzi Memorial Race

When: Saturday, Aug. 31; registration, 8 to 9:30 a.m.; race, 10

Where: Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, Scranton

Race route: Starts at Wyoming and Lackawanna avenues, heads to Green Ridge Street then to North Washington Avenue. Race ends past Scranton City Hall. Walkers will have designated volunteers/security along the route to show them where to go on Olive Street to complete their 1-mile-walk.

Details: Registration costs $20. To register, visit (for mail-in and printed forms, visit For more information, call 570-815-9954.