The sixth annual Union Local Schools Walk Now for Autism Speaks team held a fund raiser at the Belmont County Board of Developmental Disabilities track on May 10. The invitation-only event for Union Local students in grades Pre-K through 5. Students raised over $3,500.

This year Team Union Locals fund raiser was a Trick Riding Extravaganza featuring Union Local graduate Dallas Montag riding in tribute to her brother Shadow. Shadow, a senior at UL, initiated this fund raiser with a vision to combine his trick riding talent with his philanthropy. Unfortunately, he was injured while riding a new horse he rescued and is still recovering. Shadow was on site signing autographs, and showing footage of his shows. Dallas came out of retirement for the event after an injury side-lined her as well.

Shadow told students to chase their dreams and be kind to one another. He spoke to them about being bullied and told them to accept each others' differences.

Shadow said he would be following his dream by moving to Oklahoma for a chance to work with Dolly Parton in the Dixie Stampede.

Travis Clark, extreme fighter and UL grad, was on site giving autographs as well. His friend from Columbus donated a custom-made motorcycle to be raffled. The proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks. Clark donated the money for t-shirts for all the students and staff.

Kara Erwin also delivered a motivational message of acceptance, awareness, and inclusion to the students.

Pamela McCort, BCBDD Communications Director said the Union Local teachers were tremendous and the events had great participation from the students.

Autism affects about 1 in every 88 children today. That is why research and awareness are so very important, said McCort. The Belmont County Board of DD is pleased to support ULs efforts to raise money for Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks raises money for autism research, awareness, and outreach.