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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Local canine celebrity Jack Rome, official greeter of Gary Rome Auto Group, who peacefully passed away on Oct. 10, 2022, will now be memorialized with an annual 5K run/walk to benefit the Foundation for Thomas J. O’Connor (TJO) Animals.

Sponsored by Gary Rome Hyundai and Western Mass News, the first annual Jack Rome Memorial 5K will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 10 a.m. at Forest Park in Springfield, and will be a family- and dog-friendly event. Click here to register.

All funds raised will be donated directly to the Foundation for TJO Animals and will be used specifically for medical and veterinary care, emergency surgery, and rehabilitation services to help the animals find new, loving homes.

“Jack lived a very full and happy life for 13 years,” said Gary Rome, president of Gary Rome Auto Group. “When I was at work, Jack was at work. He brought a million smiles to customers and employees, and I am so thankful his memory will live on and benefit the animals at TJO.”

Hugh Zeitlin, news director of Western Mass News, said the station’s employees voted to make TJO the station charity for 2023 because of the positive impact it has on the community.

“Jack’s been around for a long time and been going to work with him every day, so we decided that this would be a wonderful idea to raise money for the Foundation for TJO Animals and start an annual memorial 5K walk/run in honor of Jack Rome,” said Stewart Bromberg, executive director for the Foundation for TJO Animals.

Jack Rome was a Vizsla breed, a Hungarian hunting dog. He embodied the common Vizsla traits of affectionate, loyal, and energetic, yet quiet and gentle. He appeared in all Gary Rome Hyundai Kia advertisements and filmed many commercials alongside Gary and 2-year-old ‘sister’ Daisy, also a Vizsla.

The Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center provides comprehensive animal-control services and programs to the Western Mass. community for the protection of animals, public health, safety, and the environment. TJO responsibly places unclaimed and relinquished animals into care and new adoptive homes. Its animal-control officers respond to routine service calls daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Emergency response for ill, injured, or aggressive animals is available 24 hours a day. The TJO Adoption Center, located at 627 Cottage St. in Springfield, provides a second chance for adoptable dogs, cats, and occasionally other animals.

To inquire about sponsorship opportunities or obtain more information, contact Dara Davignon, executive assistant to Gary Rome, at [email protected] or (413) 420-8049.