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5K run, walk to aid late Mt. Pleasant officer's family enters 2nd year

Paul Peirce
| Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Gia Zilli, 10, and Greensburg police Officer Jason Dieter.stand amidst more than 100 gift baskets donated for the first Dan Zilli Memorial Run. The Oct. 8 fundraiser to honor the late Mt. Pleasant assistant police chief police will benefit his family.
Gia Zilli, 10, and Greensburg police Officer Jason Dieter.stand amidst more than 100 gift baskets donated for the first Dan Zilli Memorial Run. The Oct. 8 fundraiser to honor the late Mt. Pleasant assistant police chief police will benefit his family.

The Dan Zilli Memorial Run may be moving 5 miles north of Mt. Pleasant Borough where “Zill” patrolled the streets for 23 years, but organizers of the second annual event say the goal will be the same when they gather Oct. 8 to celebrate the police officer's life.

“Dan was such a good guy and a great friend. It helps keep his memory alive and all he did for this entire area,” said Jason Dieter, a Greensburg police officer who had worked with Zilli in Mt. Pleasant for 13 years.

This year, the memorial run will be headquartered at Roosevelt Hall, at 2325 Mt. Pleasant Road in Mt. Pleasant Township. All proceeds from the 5K Run and Fun Walk will benefit the late assistant police chief's 11-year-old daughter, Giacinta Cassa Zilli, known as Gia.

Zilli, 46, died May 2, 2016, at his Greensburg home.

Last year's event at Frick Park drew more than 600 people to Mt. Pleasant, Dieter said. The ongoing $11 million road construction project in the borough caused organizers to move it to the township.

Zilli noted the new site at the social hall will be better in the event of inclement weather.

Registration for the race will begin at 7 a.m. inside the hall and ends at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $30. Awards will be given to the top three finishers in various age groups.

Dieter noted there are plenty of activities for people who don't plan to run, among them an interactive area for children, a Chinese auction, a silent auction that includes a 43-inch flat-screen television, a disc jockey and refreshments. There is a $5 fee for nonparticipants.

The duo T-bird and Freddie will perform, and prizes include a trip to Florida.

Food is being provided by Rizzo's Malabar Inn, Poulish Pit Barbeque, Ferrante's Lakeview Lounge and Edible Arrangements.

Last year, Dieter decided to hold the run-walk benefit knowing that Zilli enjoyed participating in local walks and runs with his daughter.

He noted that donations have come from across the region as Zilli forged many relationships while he was a member of the countywide drug task force, Westmoreland County Police Chiefs Association and South Greensburg Volunteer Fire Department, as well as through his work with the Reality Tour drug program for youths.

Registration can be completed online at runsignup.com/race/pa/mount pleasant/zilmemorialrun .

Anyone interested in volunteering, donating a gift basket or seeking details may email zil.memorial.run@gmail.com or call 724-433-8414.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib.

Correction: Sept. 17, 2017

The photo caption was modified to correct the date of the fundraiser.

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