5K run will benefit local charities

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:03

Mom who gave her life to save her son’s honored with memorial race SPARTA — Although Culver Lake resident Deborah Modrow Snook passed away seven years ago, her legacy of thoughtfulness and generosity lives on in many forms. The son she died saving on a frigid March afternoon is a teenager now, and is a thoughtful young man with a positive outlook. Her brother, Kenneth, has created the Thank You Mom Foundation in her honor, and has organized a 5K run to raise funds for Project Self-Sufficiency and for a local child who suffers from a form of pediatric cancer. Kenneth and his mother, Kathy Modrow, recently stopped by the Newton office of Project Self-Sufficiency to present the charity with a check for $1,000 in his sister’s memory. The money will be allocated to a special scholarship fund created to assist people who are receiving training at Project Self-Sufficiency. The Thank You Mom Foundation Incorporated is a non-profit organization which honors Debbie Modrow Snook and all mothers for their love, wisdom and repeated sacrifices. The organization has a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/groups/121025104606344, with 542 members. The Thank You Mom Foundation Incorporated has become a family enterprise for the Modrow clan. Debbie’s older sister, Tracy, designs t-shirts for the cause, while younger brother, Kenneth, organizes fundraising events. The organization has managed to turn a disastrous event into a positive experience for many. An ardent supporter of Project Self-Sufficiency, Debbie Modrow Snook felt a special bond with the single mothers served by the agency, often donating professional clothing along with monetary contributions to the agency’s fundraising campaigns. “We are honored and grateful to Kathy Modrow, Kenneth Modrow and especially to Debbie Modrow Snook for the example she set for all of us as a mother and as a human being,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency. “Her generosity, creativity and the sacrifice she made for her son make her a hero to us all.” “My sister was a very big character who was small in size,” noted Kenneth Modrow recently about his sister, Debbie, who was only 4’ 10” tall. “She had a great impact on a lot of people, and not just because of the last thing that she did, but throughout her life. She was an inspiration to me. She was adventurous, outgoing and she had a big heart.” On March 28, 2004, Debbie Snook’s husband, Chris, and their then 5-year-old son Dylan, were fishing off the family’s Culver Lake dock. When a fishing lure became entangled, the father and son boarded a canoe and paddled out to disengage the line. The boat unexpectedly capsized, hurling father and son into the frigid water. Debbie Snook dove into the icy lake to rescue her son, while a neighbor heard the commotion outside and rowed out to assist just a minute behind her. While Debbie managed to get to Dylan and hold him up in the water, the neighbor succeeded in rescuing Dylan and performed a few CPR tactics before Dylan coughed up some water. In the flurry of activity, Debbie Modrow Snook slipped under the surface. Two hours later, she was retrieved by a rescue diving team. Kenneth Modrow created the Thank You Mom Foundation in 2010 in order to honor the life of his sister, Debbie. The foundation’s first fundraising activity was a 5K run which took place on the last weekend in March, coinciding with the seventh anniversary of Debbie’s untimely death. “I wanted to start a foundation in remembrance of Deb. She raised money for AIDS walks, donated coats to homeless organizations and professional clothing to Project Self-Sufficiency. There were several charities that she was active with. The name, the Thank You Mom Foundation, honors the sacrifice she made in saving her son, Dylan. Project Self-Sufficiency was initially geared towards helping single mothers, so it made sense to benefit Project Self-Sufficiency because of Debbie’s nature.” The 5K run took place in New York City’s Riverside Park and involved more than 100 participants, and numerous volunteers. “It felt good to be able to do something on that occasion that was a positive way of remembering her without feeling so sad and blue,” commented Kathy Modrow, Debbie’s mother. “Project Self-Sufficiency is a cause that was close to Debbie’s heart. She was very pleased with the work being done by Project Self-Sufficiency. It put a smile on her son Dylan’s face to see so many people out there raising money for people less fortunate.” With the foundation squared away and the first fundraising activity under his belt, Kenneth Modrow anticipates holding an annual 5K run to commemorate his sister’s life. Next year, he plans to hold it in Sussex County so that more of Debbie’s acquaintances can participate. “I am really proud of what we accomplished. It was a lot like her; it was a small event but it had a big impact. We will probably take the foundation to the next level when the time is right. When we bring it to Sussex County, you will really see the momentum building.”