A year after raising more than $17,000 for the scholarship fund in his name, Heather Barrett and the other organizers of Nick’s (s)Mile of Quarters say they’re aiming just as high this year, as they work to preserve the memory of fallen Marine corporal and Manchester Township native Nick Ott.
With more time to organize this year, Barrett said they’re in a good place so far, but want to push hard to try to surpass last year’s mark, which saw quarters ring Manchester Township High School’s track.
It’s not just about raising money for the scholarship fund, which had been nearly depleted last year, but about bringing the township together, Barrett said, and giving a focus on one man’s sacrifice for his country and his community.
For Barrett, it’s a personal, if bittersweet cause—Ott, who died Aug. 10, 2011, during fighting in Afghanistan, was a nearly lifelong friend to her, and she remains close with his family, visiting at what was Ott’s childhood home.
“To me, Nick is still is still there,” she said. “I wish it never happened, but we’re trying to turn something bad into a positive. It keeps him alive, and it gives his friends and family a way to keep his legacy alive.”
Barrett and others from Manchester’s Class of 2006 have spent the last several months in preparation for the event, finding donors and making preparations for that morning.
They’re also trying to get more veterans’ groups involved in an aim to extend the day’s reach, Barrett said.
“This year we’re trying to make it bigger and better,” she said.
The organizers have already checked off one goal, in making it an annual event, and Barrett said she and her classmates want to keep it going strong.
“This is something I want to do as long as possible,” she said.
This year’s event is Saturday, Sept. 14, starting at 10 a.m., with a rain date of Sept. 15.
Want to help out? You can collect donations, donate to the gift auction or help lay quarters starting around 9:30 a.m. on the morning of the event.
For more information, email email@example.com, or call 732-606-2704.