PENFIELD — Family, friends and local supporters gathered and rode to remember a DuBois native in Penfield Saturday.
The annual Brittany Baird Memorial Dice Run was held at the Penfield Firemen’s Club on Bennetts Valley Highway, welcoming close to 200 people. Area bikers enjoyed a 125-mile ride through Clearfield, Elk and Cameron counties.
Brittany Baird, a DuBois Area High School graduate, was 25 years old when she died in a canoeing accident on the Clarion River in May 2014.
Her father and Treasure Lake resident Lon Baird said this is the dice run’s fifth year. Proceeds have always been donated to the Haven House Shelter on West DuBois Avenue. Saturday’s run raised around $15,000 that will help homeless people in the area get back on their feet.
Brittany had her master’s degree in social work, Lon said. His wife, Marcy Baird, is employed at New Story School in DuBois.
“When we lost Brittany, I wanted to do something in her name, and give it to a charity,” he said. “I didn’t know much about Haven House, but we know a lot about it now.”
The Baird family has become one of the homeless shelter’s biggest supporters over the years.
The run welcomes a different number of people each year, Lon said, but there are a few supporters who never miss the chance to remember Brittany. One year, more than 300 people gathered to support the cause.
Lon and most of his friends are motorcycle riders, so the event is an enjoyable day for all of them. A large party is held after the ride, offering music, food and several donated raffle prizes.
The run has truly become a community, effort, Lon said, with an estimated 50 sponsors donating items or helping in some way. The Penfield Firemen’s Club donates the dinner.
“Six months in advance, people start asking me about this,” Lon said. “A lot of people who come have been there every year.”
For three years, Nichole’s Niche of downtown DuBois also hosted a prom-gown giveaway in Baird’s memory, Lon said.
“We lived our whole lives here in DuBois, and we have so many supportive friends and family members,” Lon said. “That’s why this is so successful. It’s unbelievable the love people show us. They just come out and want to give, and that makes us feel so good.”