Mike DeFazio

Mike DeFazio of Kennett Square is pictured with his award.

KENNETT SQUARE—A Kennett Square man has been recognized for decades of service in helping to keep the Kennett Run safe.

For the past three decades, Mike DeFazio helped to keep the Kennett Run safe for everyone. The Kennett Run is 32 years old, and he and his team handled traffic cones for most of those years.

In 2018, DeFazio relinquished his duties managing the process of maintaining and distributing the over 400 traffic cones. The cones are used to restrict auto access to the racecourse and keep runners on course. Now the responsibility for the cones has been accepted by Taylor Oil.

J.J. Simon, Kennett Run Race Director, admitted it took several years to present the award.

“The Board agreed to recognize Mike’s decades of service when he relinquished his role," he said. 'We searched unsuccessfully for over a year for a custom award like that we presented. In the end, we had to make it ourselves. Then COVID blocked the public presentation we planned for last year and again this year.”

DeFazio took over this critical safety role over 20 years ago from Jim Neel. He put together a team of volunteers that stayed with him for most of the time, made up of Dave Foresman, Rich Pesce, Mitchell Brison and his sons, and Eric Kelleher and the Scouts of Troop 24. They drove the race course before daybreak the morning of the race to place the cones where needed, and again following the last runner to collect the cones and reopen the roads as quickly as possible to traffic.

The operation worked smoothly and quickly because DeFazio designed and built two platforms for his flatbed truck so they could safely distribute and collect the cones without stopping.

“In 20 years, we only lost two cones, and that was when the cones were lent out to another group for their use,” said DeFazio.

DeFazio also built the 1,000-pound stainless steel mushroom that drops from a crane every year in Kennett Square to usher in the new year.

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