The memory of former Secaucus volunteer firefighter Mark Vogel, New Jersey’s smallest firefighter, will be honored at the first annual Mark Vogel Charity Run being held on June 26, 2011. The event will raise money for the Little People of America and will feature a 35-mile motorcycle run, a breakfast, a barbecue, entertainment, and activities for children. Members of the Secaucus High School Choir are expected to perform, and kids get in free to enjoy inflatable attractions and kid-friendly activities.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Mark Vogel, who passed away on June 16, 2001 while recovering from an operation. His brother, Fred Vogel, had always sought a way to pay honor to his memory.
“I always wanted to do something. I knew it had to be big…He was of such big stature,” said Vogel.
It was his wife, Melissa Vogel, who came up with the idea months ago of paying tribute to him in time for the anniversary.
“My brother always gave of himself to others.” – Fred Vogel
“My brother always gave of himself to others,” said Vogel.
Although Mark Vogel was born with a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, he didn’t let his height stop him from serving as a volunteer firefighter for the Secaucus and Moonachie fire departments and also as a member of the Moonachie EMT squad. He was named New Jersey’s Public Servant of the Year in 2000 by the Bergen County PAL.
"If you want something in life, you have to go for it," Vogel said during an interview early in 2000. "How can you know if you can get it or not unless you try?"
Proceeds from the charity run will go to benefit Little People of America (LPA), a foundation with which Mark Vogel was involved. LPA provides support to people of short stature and their families through programs that provide social interaction, medical support and education, and scholarships and grants. LPA’s government funding was cut this year and Vogel hopes that the money raised from this event will help cover the gap in funding.
How it works
Fred Vogel has raised over $1,000 to date for the charity run and says the sky is the limit as far as what he hopes to raise from this special memorial. He anticipates 250 motorcycle riders for the charity run and hopes those who don’t have a motorcycle will come to the afternoon BBQ.
The organizers continue to seek support such as products, food for the BBQ, or sponsorship for the children’s activities.
Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m at 10 Enterprise Ave. in Secaucus. Breakfast will be provided. The 35-mile motorcycle run will be escorted by the Thunder Motorcycle Club and will follow a scenic route along the Palisades Parkway through Alpine and back.
A BBQ will be held afterwards back on Enterprise Avenue. Riders contribute $20 to ride, passengers $10. Anyone else is welcome to attend the BBQ for a contribution of $10, while kids get in free.
The rain date is scheduled for July 3, 2011. For more information, please call Fred Vogel: 201-469-6676.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.