SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday was the inaugural Jack Rome Memorial 5K, where a local canine who was the official greeter at the Gary Rome Auto Group will be remembered.

Jack Rome passed away on October 10th of last year. According to event organizers, Jack brought a million smiles to customers and employees. To honor his life, the Gary Rome Auto Group is hosting the first annual Jack Rome Memorial 5K, and many people came out to Forest Park to celebrate the life of a well-known furry friend.

“I want to keep our dog’s memory alive. He meant so much to us,” expressed Gary Rome, the Owner of Gary Rome Hyundai.

Bel from Ludlow says this is his first time participating in the race with his husky, “Good way to meet, and get with the community and everything. Plus it’s a good cause for the dogs and animals out here too.”

The event will be a family and dog-friendly event with over 200 runners registered and over 50 dogs registered. The money raised will go to the Foundation for TJO Animals and will be used for medical and veterinary care, emergency surgery, and rehabilitation services to help the animals find new homes.

“I want to bring awareness and let people know about the need in the community, especially for TJO to raise money for medical supplies and treatment for animals,” said Rome.

Registration for this event began at 8:30 a.m. and the 5K kicked off at 10:00 a.m. Winners of the 5K run and walk won prizes and also got to take home some treats for their four-legged friends.

Local News

Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.