Ride for the Mind a tribute to loved ones

One of many families who participate in the annual Ride for the Mind, the Girtzes come together to honor their mother, Rosie, who is now living at the Heritage of Foley Nursing Center. Pictured are just a few of the 12 Girtz offspring and their family members who participated in this year’s ride, front row: granddaughter Rose Bailey. Second row (from left): daughter Jody Bailey, daughter Nancy DeVriendt, granddaughter Jessica Seppelt. Back row: granddaughter Bobbi Jo Mueller, son Lee Girtz, daughter Darlene Bednar and son Dale Girtz.

One of many families who participate in the annual Ride for the Mind, the Girtzes come together to honor their mother, Rosie, who is now living at the Heritage of Foley Nursing Center. Pictured are just a few of the 12 Girtz offspring and their family members who participated in this year’s ride, front row: granddaughter Rose Bailey. Second row (from left): daughter Jody Bailey, daughter Nancy DeVriendt, granddaughter Jessica Seppelt. Back row: granddaughter Bobbi Jo Mueller, son Lee Girtz, daughter Darlene Bednar and son Dale Girtz.

Funds raised for Alzheimer’s research and facilities

By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer

Two hundred and sixty riders from around Minnesota and beyond met at the 10 Spot in Royalton June 15 for the ninth annual Ride for the Mind. Funds raised by participants are given to various facilities housing people with Alzheimer’s as well as to research.

Darlene Bednar, her brother Dale Girtz and friends Scott and Sally Kloss, were just talking one day shortly after Scott’s mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Darlene and Dale’s mom also has Alzheimer’s.

“We all like to ride motorcycles and had done cancer runs,” Darlene said. “So we thought, “Why not do a ride for Alzheimer’s?’”

For the ride’s third year, in 2006, raffle tickets were limited to 300 and were sold at $100 each, with 57 cash prizes.

“That really bumped up what was raised,” Bednar said. “We went above $20,000 for the first time in 2008.”

A different route is chosen every year. This year, riders made their way from Royalton to Tiny’s Tavern in Lastrup, with a stop at the Bottom’s Up Saloon in Buckman on their way back to Royalton.

After-ride activities include a live auction and raffle, with a live band.

Live auction items this year included a freezer from Electrolux, fire pits, tools, concert tickets and several framed prints.

Following the ride, planning committee members get together as a group to decide where to donate the funds. In the past, portions of the money have been given to Heritage of Foley, Mother of Mercy in Albany, Harmony House in Pierz, Mille Lacs Lake Health Systems Long-Term Care in Onamia, The Villa in Pierz, Lutheran Care Center in Little Falls, Good Shepherd in Sauk Rapids and Harmony House in Motley.

“We always give some of the funds to the Alzheimer’s Research Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul,” Bednar said. “We tour a facility in the area and find out the number of people in that facility. We ask what areas the money might be used for.”

Anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 is given to each facility.

The group toured Lakeview Ranch in Dassel last year.

“We were amazed at how they use animals with the residents,” Bednar said.

The group also requests that facilities look into using the “It’s Never 2 Late” system.

“It’s a computer system that residents can use for games, puzzles, music and other tools,” said Bednar.

The system is therapy geared toward residents’ interests and abilities, using their memories and experiences.

“The ride is a lot of work,” she said, “but seeing the ‘It’s Never 2 Late’ system being used and knowing we helped with that breaks my heart. We give these residents something to help them.”

“We do it because it’s for a good cause,” said Lee Girtz. “When we visit the facilities it’s rewarding to hear what the workers and the residents say.”

Patty Grier started doing the ride because her mom has Alzheimer’s. “I really enjoy helping and just doing what I can do. There is not enough awareness about Alzheimer’s,” she said.

The ride planning committee includes Darlene Bednar, Scott and Sally Kloss, Dale and Nancy DeVriendt, Dewey and Jenny Eiynk, Dale and Stacey Girtz, Lee and Sandy Girtz, Charlie and Kathy Gocken, Randy and Deb Struck and Becky Vannurden.

In addition to the annual ride, a brat cookout is held at Thielen Meats in Pierz in May.

“It’s always on fishing opener weekend,” Bednar said.

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