Barrington residents playing key roles in charity event


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Friends of the Poor Walk/Run will have a decidedly Barrington flavor this year. Barrington residents Mark Searles, Mary Sue Tavares and Steve Turgeon will all play active roles in hosting the sixth annual event, which is set for Sept. 28 at Colt State Park.

Mr. Searles is serving as the honorary chair, Ms. Tavares as the walk director and Mr. Turgeon as the race director. All three are focused on one goal: to help set people in need on the path to independence and dignity.

NBC10 Chief Meteorologist Mark Searles will serve as honorary chair and emcee for the second year in a row. A runner and member of St. Luke’s Church, Mr. Searles is committed to the race’s mission of helping the underserved in our community.

Mary Sue Tavares, director of residential services for the Fogarty Center, volunteers her time as a member (and past president) of the St. Brendan’s conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and is serving as walk director for the sixth year, orchestrating more than 100 volunteers, 400-plus participants and food and entertainment for all.

Steve Turgeon is best known in Barrington for his role as head girls track & field coach at Barrington High School where his teams have won numerous class and division championships.  His efforts have earned him “Coach of the Year” honors from the Rhode Island Track Coaches Association's Coach of the Year in 2010. He is the meet director of the East Coast Invitational, an indoor track and field event that attracts 800-plus New England athletes; of eight Rhode Island Interscholastic League Championship meets; and now is the race director for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Friends of the Poor Walk/Run.

The 3-mile walk is its sixth year and offers a scenic view for all participants. The event is wheel chair accessible and four legged friends (on leashes) are welcome. This will be the second year of the 5-mile, USATF-certified run.  The course is fast and fairly flat.  Overall winners in the five-mile road race were Shawn Horgan of Bristol and Kelsey Seddon of Westerly with finish times of 28:18 and 34:31, respectively, in 2012.  Prizes will be awarded for winners in each running age category.

All proceeds from the fund-raiser will be used by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to provide emergency utility payments, food, clothing and shelter, along with one-on-one assistance to people in crisis so that they may create their own pathways to independence and success. In 2012, 35 conferences in Rhode Island served more than 80,000 people in need by providing 75,583 volunteer hours and $800,000 in direct aid.

Walkers can go to to download a walker registration and pledge form or can call the Society of St. Vincent de Paul office at 401-305-3880 for an application to be sent. Online registration for the race is available at; alternatively registration forms can be found at and mailed with a check.  Race registration is $20 through Sept. 24 and $25 from Sept. 25 through race day.

Check-in and last minute registration for the event will be at 9 a.m. on Sept. 28. The race will kick off at 10 a.m. and the start of the walk will immediately follow. At 11 a.m. a family fun festival with a rock climbing wall, face painting, pumpkin painting, chowder, hot dogs and baked goods will provide a warm welcome for participants retuning from the walk and run, supporters of the event and their families.

For more information about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor© Walk/Run call 401-305-3880 or email


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