5K run honors everyday heroes like Jerome Rodio
● By Steven Hoffman
The runners and walkers gathered at the starting line at shortly after 9 o’clock last Saturday morning. The grass was still wet but the bright sun was making its way toward its high point. Over the next half hour or so, the race participants got to enjoy a nice run or walk on a 5K course that meandered through a beautiful section of Nottingham Park, but they also got to pay tribute to everyday heroes like Jerome Rodio, the late business owner who left a lasting legacy in Oxford through his kindness and friendship to many.
Organizers deemed the first Everyday Hero 5K Run and Walk a success before the sun could dry off the grass. How could it not be a success? Initially envisioned as a chance to honor Rodio, the Everyday Hero 5K quickly evolved into an event to honor all those people who work to make the community around them a better place through their service.
Rodio certainly qualified as an everyday hero, and he was on the minds of many of the volunteers and participants who took part in the event. From the moment that he arrived in Oxford in 2008, Rodio was an ardent supporter of businesses in town, and loved being involved with the popular First Friday events each month. His store was frequently filled with artists and craftspeople for the First Friday events. He also worked on behalf of a number of nonprofit organizations in the community.
Rodio joined the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce and eventually became the board president. He was a beloved figure in Oxford when he passed away in July of 2016.
The Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce helped organize the Everyday Heroes event with him in mind.
“This started because Jerome Rodio was such a huge pillar in the community,” explained Kim Jarvis, the vice president of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce Board. “When we thought about how to honor him, he enjoyed running and he enjoyed being in the park. He would have liked this.”
Jarvis added that Rodio would have also liked the fact that the event was honoring everyday heroes who worked to make the community around them a better place.
“This is for all those who serve the community,” Jarvis said. “That’s how Jerome would have wanted it.”
When asked, Jarvis said that the hope is that there will be another event next year.
“We are hoping that it will turn out to be an annual event,” she said.
Rodio is being remembered several different ways in Oxford this month. Mayor Geoff Henry proclaimed the First Friday in August to be Jerome Rodio Day, and the community meal at the Oxford Presbyterian Church this Sunday, Aug. 27, will be in Rodio’s memory. The community meal takes place at 5:30 p.m.