About 60 members of a volunteer squad, led by members of the Hudson High School lacrosse team, left Hudson before 6 a.m. April 12 on a mission to bomb the streets of Akron and a company of runners.
The mission was to toss colorful bombs at runners taking part in the Color Me Rad 5K and help raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
The squad completed both missions, raising $4,500 for RMH, which is undergoing a $10 million expansion to increase capacity from 20 to 60 rooms, according to Meri Skiera, director of programs and services for Ronald McDonald House of Akron, 245 Locust St.
"Saturday [April 12] was fantastic," said Sue Malson, whose son Logan is a senior on the team. "We had a beautiful day, and I could not be more proud to be part of the Hudson lacrosse family."
The volunteers were members of the "bomb squad," who tossed paint bombs on the runners.
"I give these boys a lot of credit for being up and ready to go before 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning after having games the night before," Malson added. "Our group made up at least half of the volunteers Saturday morning and made a huge impact and very colorful impact on all who attended -- we even had the Kirk family join us."
Maryanne Kirk is a 2-year-old Hudson girl who is fighting leukemia.
Karen Nye, the lacrosse team photographer, whose son Zach, is a senior on the team, participated in the Feb. 22 Polar Bear Jump at the Portage Lakes in the name of "Jump for Maryanne," which also helped raise funds for RMH.
"In my opinion, the day could not have been better," Nye said of the event. "It started with most of the volunteers meeting at the field house to ride a school bus to Akron at 6 in the morning."
According to Nye, a few days after the event, she "teared up" after calling the bus garage to find out the bill. Nye was told "not to worry." The bus, fuel and the driver's time were all donated.
"So many people gave what they could to make this the success that it was," Nye said.
Players, parents and volunteers "all had great attitudes," according to Nye.
"I only saw smiles on everyone," Nye said. "Around 9:15, the Kirk family came."
Karol and Joe Kirk are the parents of Maryanne. Joe was working, but Karol, Maryanne's brother, Michael, 6, and sister, Audrey, 5, attended.
"At first the kids were a little shy and reserved around the players, but in no time the big kids were playing with the little ones and the race runners got a little extra paint bombing," Nye said. "Now that introductions have been made and new friendships formed, we are hoping to have a home game in which we have Maryanne, Michael and Audrey come and watch."
The children will hopefully be dressed in Hudson lacrosse shirts and announced at halftime as "our new little mascots," Nye added.
"Ideas are in the works to tie this in to another possible awareness and a little fundraising for the Akron Ronald McDonald House," Nye said. "Maryanne's presence can't help but touch people's hearts as she is representative of all the children who suffer."
The Hudson group was made up of about 40 players and 20 parents and family members, according to Coach David Blue, who also attended.
"The event was a huge success for our program," Blue said. "The boys loved getting in on the action and helped with set up and tear down of the event."
However, the most fun, according to Blue, was "throwing the color on the runners as they passed by."
The weather cooperated with sunny skies and mild temperatures.
"After the long hard winter, to have temps in the 60s and low 70s and sunny was just outstanding," Blue said. "The team did a fantastic job and many of the players said they were glad we did the event and are looking forward to doing it again in future years."
Blue was proud of the players and parents who donated their time to the April 12 event, he said.
"The idea of the function was to give back to the community in which we live. I think the kids all had that chance and learned a valuable lesson of community service and charitable giving," Blue said. "I could not be prouder of the way our players conducted themselves."
"There's something very special about kids helping kids," Malson added.
The Color Me Rad 5K is a national charity "color run" which chose RMH as a 2014 charity. Aside from a portion of the funds being donated to RMH, an extra $75 was donated per each volunteer. Registrants who used a special code received a 10 percent discount which was donated to RMH.