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Event to honor late East Brunswick Vo-Tech graduate

Members of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools’ East Brunswick campus remember graduate Paul Chrzaszcz for his selflessness, service to his community and willingness to make a difference. Many will keep that memory alive when they participate in the first Inspire 5K Run, Walk on Sunday that will pay tribute to the 2006 graduate and promote healthy living. The event will be conducted at CrystalSprings Aquatic Center, 380 Dunhams Corner Road.

Jeffrey Bicsko, principal of East Brunswick campus, learned about Chrzaszcz in June after he drowned at the age of 24. Chrzaszcz, a South Amboy resident, dove into the murky waters of Cheesequake Creek near Morgan Marina on Gondek Drive in Sayreville to retrieve a boat motor on June 18 when he disappeared. His body was found in the creek about 75 feet west of the marina a day later.

“His death was so tragic and he was remembered fondly by so many of the teachers here,” he said. To organize Inspire 5K, Bicsko joined Chrzaszcz’ parents, Kristen Schiro of EmPoWER Somerset, as well as a student assistant counselor and cross-country coach from the school. The involvement of EmPoWER Somerset arose after the organization sponsored a fitness challenge at the school beginning in January and culminated in March that promoted healthy living. The competition was part of EmPoWER’s coordinated school health grant. “We wanted to create a scholarship in memory of Paul, piggyback on a healthy initiative started by EmPoWER Somerset, and profile the life of this great young man,” Bicsko said. “Life is very fragile,” he added.

Chrzaszcz, a lifelong resident of South Amboy, was a member of the Mechanicsville Hose Company in the city and the Melrose Hose Company in Sayreville. A student at Monmouth University, he had developed an interest in art. The Inspire 5K Tshirt, which participants will wear, features some of the artwork created by Chrzaszcz.

“Everyone said he was such a good kid who went above and beyond,” Bicsko said. “He would help someone on the side of the road by changing their tire instead of driving by. He was just that kind of person. He was a model citizen, always helping his fellow neighbor … something we should all aspire to be.” Bicsko also recalled that Chrzaszcz was a stellar athlete whose number 7 jersey is now retired.

With 100 participants already signed up for Inspire 5K, Bicsko hopes to reach his goal of 200. “We hope that we can continue the race next year, have the scholarship fund  established and have the event running on its own,” he said.

“We want the scholarship to be given to a deserving senior who exemplifies strong character, excels in academics and athletics, and is an all-around good kid.” The entry fees are $20 for Middlesex County residents and $22 for others for advance registration and $25 on the day of the race. Race registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. Participants may pick up their event packets, T-shirts and goody bags the day before the event. The race will start at 9 a.m. Refreshments, music and an awards ceremony will also be included in the day’s event, due to be conducted rain or shine.

“Many of our teachers are sponsoring students to run because they can’t necessarily run themselves,” Bicsko said. “All of our school’s other campuses—Woodbridge, Piscataway and Perth Amboy—are also participating and it is inspirational to see the camaraderie between everyone for this special event.”

“Inspire, the name of the race was chosen because we should all be inspired by be the best we can be and what better way to do so than to honor the memory of someone who was such an inspirational example to us all?” he said.

Click here to download the 4-22-13 Courier News article