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February 9, 2022

Oneonta, NY – It is with heartfelt gratitude and emotion that the Ricky J. Parisian Memorial Scholarship Foundation and the Parisian family announce the retirement of the annual Pit Run event. Established in 1994 to honor slain investigator, Ricky J. “Pit” Parisian, the Pit Run served as the primary fundraiser to support the establishment and growth of a scholarship endowment to support Oneonta High School graduates in their pursuit of higher education. Through the generosity of donors and event sponsors, the fund has grown and will ensure that the mission of the Foundation will continue for years to come.

“We are humbled that the Pit Run has allowed our family to take a tragedy and transform it into a celebration of Rick’s life in a caring and supportive environment within the community,” said Steve Parisian, Ricky’s brother and long-time Pit Run organizer and volunteer. “We know he would have been proud of the number of individuals that have been impacted by the success of this event. We will forever be thankful for all the wonderful, caring people who became part of the Pit Run family. The friends, volunteers, sponsors, runners, and spectators have made our lives richer and for that we will always be grateful,” he said. Sid Parisian, Ricky’s younger brother added further, “When I look at 28 Annual Pit Runs and the impacts it has had on the greater Oneonta community, I am positive that Ricky would be amazed at what has been accomplished in honor of him.”

The positive and lasting impact of this event may be measured in many ways. Nearly thirty deserving students have received scholarship support totaling $295,500 over the years, and have become part of the Parisian family. More than $356,000 has also been awarded in the form of grants to support worthwhile activities in the local community. Many of the individuals who have been positively impacted by the generosity and support of this event continue to ‘pay it forward’ and give back, whether that is to Oneonta or another community in which they reside.

Directors of the Parisian Foundation are grateful to all Pit Run committee members, past and present, who gave tirelessly to this event over its 28-year tenure. The organization is proud that it has been a 100% volunteer endeavor each year, honoring the life of a man who selflessly loved and served his community. Over the years, the event has evolved to become a celebration of Oneonta itself.

Equally deserving of recognition for the success of this event are the annual sponsors, many of whom have supported the Pit Run since day one. Whether through financial sponsorships, gifts-in-kind, or service driven gestures, the Parisian Foundation is forever grateful to all who have contributed.

Lastly, a sincere shout out of appreciation to the longtime volunteers and participants who returned each year to work and run alongside each other to bring the community together in celebration. Regardless of any national crisis in the forefront each year, the community came together in camaraderie and unison for the day to share a common theme; people supporting people.

The Ricky J. Parisian Memorial Scholarship Foundation is extremely proud of all that this event has helped to accomplish. The organization looks to the future with gladness, not because it ended but because it happened. It validated the importance of community and strength of people helping people.