McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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January 14, 2013

Lift STrong33 Lift-A-Thon and Fitness Challenge organizers say prepare

McALESTER — The third annual LiftStrong33 Lift-A-Thon and Fitness Challenge to benefit the Eric Allford Memorial Fund will be held a little earlier this year and organizers want to give participants time to prepare.

Organizers have set this year’s Lift-A-Thon event for Feb. 23 to take place in the weight room in the “Indoor” building at Hook Eales Stadium.

Friends and family memorialize Allford yearly by raising funds for scholarships and funds to benefit local sports, said Jason Fassio co-organizer of the Lift-A-Thon . He added the event is usually mid-March.

Fassio said the Lift-A-Thon is a bench press and weight lifting competition. He said there will also be a timed fitness obstacle course.

All participants must sign a waiver, he said.

Fassio said participants may want to physically prepare and make sure they’re in good health before signing up.

He said Allford was an avid weight lifter and athlete in high school.

The Lift-A-Thon specifically benefits the Eric Allford Memorial Scholarship given to two McAlester High School seniors every year, he said. However, he said, if money raised exceeds the amount of the total scholarships, it will go back into the memorial fund and is used to benefit local sports.

Lindsey Fassio said there are local businesses donating to the memorial fund and are sponsoring the Lift-A-Thon.

“The event is fun,” Lindsey said. “And, it’s even more fun for kids.”

She said a large inflatable is set up for children as well as other activities.

There will be food and refreshments, Lindsey said, and added although the food is free donations will be accepted and appreciated.

“The scholarships are given to two outstanding students. One boy and one girl,” Jason said and added there’s preference given to students participating in athletics.

Jason said students should speak to MHS administration about the application process.

Although, preference is given to students in athletics, he said, all students planning for college are encouraged to apply for the scholarships.

Wilson “Eric” Allford was killed at 23 years-old in a tragic car accident March of 2005 in Edmond, Jason said.

The Fassios said all organizers of the event are friends and family.

In 2008, Allford’s parents Larry and Gayle Allford gave the first $500 Eric Allford Memorial Scholarship.

A few years later, Eric’s friends offered to help Larry and Gayle continue their memorial effort.

Eric’s cousin, and co-organizer for the event,  Patrick Allford said friends became involved with helping the family raise funds to share in memorializing him.

Jason Fassio said event T-shirts will be available soon for $15.

For more information regarding donations, sponsorship or the event call 918-424-4545.

Those wishing to make donations to the Eric Allford Memorial Fund can send donations to the Eric Allford Memorial Fund at P.O. Box 632 McAlester, OK 74502.

For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.

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