The Fire Company Community Picnic on Saturday morning is one of the most appreciated events of the Half Marathon weekend in September. Thanks to two local businesses, the food is free to all who attend: local supporters of the Fire Company, race volunteers, the runners, and their friends and family who accompany them.
Belmont Solar and Stoltzfus Structures have come on board as sponsors for the picnic because their owners love to run. It is a valuable sponsorship because this meal fosters much goodwill among race participants. They love mingling with the local residents, plus the food is delicious.
As Ben Zook, owner, technical designer, and innovator at Belmont Solar, says, “It is the best after-race meal!” He should know because he has run in races across the country. Ben first met Jim and John Smucker at the Full Moon Runs and became friends with Bird-in-Hand area runners. From the very beginning, he has been a part of the Half Marathon events and has run all of them except for one year when he had a foot injury. He has been a pacer for the past three years, most recently at the 1 hour and 40 minutes mark.
Ben’s solar company is located near Intercourse where his staff serves clients in a two-hour radius around the shop. Just as Ben is passionate about running, he is also passionate about solar power. He explains that 100 years after electricity became a trusted source of power, solar power is also becoming a trusted source. His company strives for PEN: performance, education, and neatness.
Dave Zook, partner and advisor at Stoltzfus Structures in Atglen, approached Ben two years ago and asked him to join him in sponsoring the picnic. Although the two men are not related, they are friends and both want their companies to give back to the local community that supports their businesses. They feel the picnic is meaningful and helpful to the recipients and the overall event is a well-done cause. That is why they give their generous sponsorships.
Dave works in his family’s business along with his brothers and father. They manufacture all types of structures such as garden sheds, man caves, she sheds, garages, mini-barns, pool houses, gazebos, pergolas, and pavilions and sell them nationwide. Portable sheds from Stoltzfus Structures are moved onto the event grounds for use during the Half Marathon weekend.
Running is a passion for Dave, something he does every day. Because he has friends who are members of the Bird-in-Hand Fire Company, he has run the Half Marathon several times. And it is through his friends and his running that he has become involved as a sponsor of the community picnic. Banners for Belmont Solar and Stoltzfus Structures are displayed so that as picnic attendees enter the tent, they know these two companies are doing a great service for our community.