By John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer
Nearly 4,000 area dads and other male caregivers walked their children to school Wednesday in the third annual Fathers Walk.
Last year, that number was 2,500; it was 500 in its first year.
''Every year, we're getting larger and larger,'' said Vera Thomas, one of the lead coordinators for the Fathers Walk, sponsored by Fame Fathers of Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne Counties.
Mayors, school superintendents, judges, elected officials and members of 100 Black Men were among more than 50 greeters who welcomed the fathers.
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic met the fathers at Rimer elementary school in the Kenmore neighborhood.
''He greeted 100 dads,'' Thomas said.
Most elementary schools in Akron participated 275 fathers turned out at Resnik along with Perkins and Litchfield middle schools.
Revere Middle School in Bath Township and Overdale Primary School in Tallmadge also greeted dads.
Enthusiasm was so high in northern Summit County that the event was spread over Tuesday and Wednesday.
More than 850 dads showed up Tuesday at Dodge Intermediate School in Twinsburg, where the mayor greeted them. The dads stomped bleacher seats to show their enthusiasm for being involved in their kids' education.
''They were really fired up,'' said co-coordinator Lorenzo Lewis. ''As a form of unity, all the fathers, and uncles and caregivers who were there to support their children took a lap around the track.''
Dads turned out Wednesday at Lee Eaton and Ledgeview elementary schools in the Nordonia Hills district.
Willets Middle School in Medina County's Brunswick district took part along with several Canton schools, including Hartford Middle School.
The Fathers Walk is a national event. More than 300 cities are expected to participate this year.