Locals Participate In Benefit Run For Late Army Veteran

Nancy and Michael Manzella, Darren Manzella-Lapeira’s parents, present Tory Irgang, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation executive director, a check for $14,000 to be used for veterans in need. Also pictured are race committee members, Ivis Edgerton, Kathleen Thies, Cindy Orr, Pat Titus and Lynne Wysocki. Not pictured are Deanne Manzella, Terri Mundy and Michele Patterson. Submitted photo

On July 28, 162 runners and walkers laced up for the fifth annual Darren Manzella-Lapeira Memorial Run in Brocton.

A United States Army veteran, Manzella-Lapeira served as a medic for two tours of duty during the Iraq War. Upon completing his service, he joined the Army Reserves and was serving as a staff segregant in the Army National Guard when he was killed in an automobile accident in August 2013.

Always willing to help another in need, Manzella-Lapeira was working at the Canandaigua Veterans Crisis Call Center as a counselor at the time of his death. He listened to each veteran in need and offered a compassionate ear, understanding and guidance.

Due to his selfless nature, his family created The Darren Manzella-Lapeira Veterans Assistance Fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to support local veterans through the Chautauqua County Veterans Service Agency. The agency also offers trained counselors who provide services in crisis situations.

In 2018, the race raised $14,000, $9,000 of which was presented to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation for the fund. Other proceeds benefitted a scholarship fund established at Brocton Central School for veterans’ descendants, and other local veteran service organizations.

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