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Pratt & Whitney-sponsored Rubber Chicken Run Raises More Than $5,000 for Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater

Story and photos by Barbara Bresnahan
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. | Thursday, August 22, 2013

In order to fulfill the company's philanthropic goals, Pratt & Whitney donates to and/or sponsors countless charitable causes each year. On Aug. 15, a unique 5K cross-country race was on Pratt & Whitney's agenda.

The 2013 Rubber Chicken Run, a fundraiser for Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, raised more than $5,000, enabling the playhouse to continue conducting creative theater programs for young people ages 3-18, thereby building essential life skills, such as creativity, empathy and self confidence.

As the race's primary sponsor, Pratt & Whitney employees were on hand at the event, which was held at Middletown's Mercy High School.

"Pratt & Whitney has been an incredible corporate supporter of Oddfellows Playhouse programs for a very long time," noted Matthew Pugliese, the executive director at the theater.

"Pratt & Whitney was one of the first sponsors to step forward to help make the Rubber Chicken Run happen, supporting it with volunteer energy on the race planning committee and with over 10 volunteers every year on race day to help direct runners, hand out water and do setup and cleanup," Pugliese added.

This year, Pratt & Whitney also had a five-person team compete in the race. The team, led by employees Ray Hernandez and Beth Matonak, finished in second place in the Mixed Team division.

With kudos, Hawaiian-style leis and rubber chickens as prizes, the race is certainly unique, and the funds raised are definitely appreciated by the playhouse and the nearly 2,000 children who take part in their programs each year.

For more information about Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater, visit www.oddfellows.org. For full race results, visit Cool Running.

Photo Captions:

Photo 1: A 'Kids Run' was part of the festivities at Oddfellows' third annual Rubber Chicken Run.

Photos 2 and 3: Pratt & Whitney was a sponsor of the third annual Rubber Chicken Run 5K Cross Country Race, held at Mercy High School in Middletown on Aug. 15.

Photo 4: Nearly 200 runners participated in the third annual Rubber Chicken Run in Middletown, Conn., on Aug. 15, 2013. The event was a benefit for the Oddfellows Playhouse and was sponsored by Pratt & Whitney. The first to cross the finish line was No. 173, Tom Holowka of New Haven, with a time of 17:18.

Photo 5: Pratt & Whitney's Rob McGuinness (far left) directs runners as they exit a wooded path during the Rubber Chicken Run 5K Cross Country Race, which was a benefit for Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown.

Photo 6: Pratt & Whitney employees Ray Hernandez (No. 49) and Beth Matonak (No. 66) led a team that finished second in the Mixed Team division.

Photo 7: Awards were given to the top three finishers overall and each age-group winners. Team awards of a rubber chicken were also given to the top men's teams, top women's teams and top combined (men and women) teams.

Photo 8: Oddfellows Playhouse Executive Director Matthew Pugliese announces the winners of the third annual Rubber Chicken Run 5K Cross Country Race, which was held on Aug. 15 at Mercy High School in Middletown.

Photo 9: Pratt & Whitney was a sponsor of the third annual Rubber Chicken Run 5K Cross Country Race, held at Mercy High School in Middletown on Aug. 15.