By Betty Heath
Life changing moments seem to come at the most unexpected times in our lives. Who could have ever guessed a single motorcycle ride would make such a huge difference in a person’s life? But, that’s exactly what happened to Joe Dunigan when he was involved in a single motorcycle accident back in 2010. Hospitalized for ten days and out of work for six months he and his wife, Candi found themselves in dire need of a helping hand.
Fast forward to a sunny winter day in 2016 when these two motorcycle enthusiasts began talking about organizing a community ride to benefit others who find themselves experiencing an emergency and are in need of a helping hand. While making plans for the first community ride, their 23-year-old son, Brendan, (above) lost his life in a tragic motorcycle accident. This was just one month before the first Poker Run Fundraiser was to take place. Hurting and numb from their loss, they decided they needed to ride with the participants. That ride not only helped two local families through their difficult financial times, but it also gave the Dunigans the courage and fortitude to move forward with their plans to establish a nonprofit they named Brendan Dunigan Memorial Foundation.
The Dunigans desired to create something unique to benefit the Tri-town community where they live. Their dreams are born out of a strong will to provide financial, physical and emotional support for those who are experiencing unforeseen emergencies. They have been actively involved in the Carbon Valley Community for the last two years raising money to assist local families.
Poker Runs are considered to be one of the best fundraising events among the riders, providing scenic destinations while meeting other like-minded riders in the process. To date, the Dunigans have sponsors for three runs during the motorcycle riding season: SPRING KICK-OFF; POKER RUN, the flagship event on July 14; SANTA TOY RUN; Brendan’s Toy Run scheduled for November 14, 2018.
The POKER RUN scheduled for July 14 will begin at 10:00 a.m. at High Country Harley Davidson and end at Jerry D’s with BBQ, Music, High Hand and Prizes. Go to their Website to pre-register. Just click on events and then click on Poker Run. Cost is $20 for one rider; $30 for two riders; $20 for all other vehicles.
You can celebrate this worthy cause by “Lending a Helping Hand to Those in Need.”
July 14 Poker Run Recipients
The Brendan Dunigan Memorial Foundation will be raising money on July 14, 2018, at their annual poker run to help two families in need.
The first family, Matt and Heather Kamtz, lived in Firestone for over 10 years before moving to Brighton. On May 31st Heather was diagnosed with stage 3 metastatic breast cancer. Stage 3 because of the size and the fact it spread to her lymph nodes. A little more than 2 weeks later a radical lateral mastectomy was completed. Soon she will undergo 5 months of chemo followed by 2 months of radiation. She is a mother of 2 (1 at home). The diagnosis has come at a complete shock to Heather’s family as there is no family history and the mass was not a defined lump but part of the tissue. Heather has been placed on short-term disability.
Our second family is the Schimer family. Vincent was born a happy healthy 7 pound 7 ounce baby boy on December 1, 2017. In his second month of life, he began to vomit excessively and was not gaining weight. His parents Steve and Theresa were immediately concerned and began looking for answers. Another month went by and his condition had not improved. He was soon hospitalized and underwent many tests all inconclusive. Finally, after 5 weeks in the hospital, he was forced nutrition through an IV. He is now 6 months, gained 5 pounds and continues to grow. There remains no diagnosis. Doctor’s believe he had an intestinal virus and allergy that caused malabsorption. He requires constant care from his parents and home health team. It is hopeful that within this next year he will outgrow the condition and be a happy healthy boy.
You can also nominate a person or family in the Carbon Valley area that could use a helping hand by filling out the form on-line or volunteer to help.
Find out more about Brendan Memorial Foundation at www.brendanmemorial.org or on Facebook @brendansride.
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While big box stores may offer consumers variety and lower prices for buying in bulk, it is local businesses that keep a community prospering for the benefit of citizens. Research shows companies that encourage community involvement distinguish themselves from their competitors, build loyal customers, and have happier employees.
“Being socially involved in our community is imperative,” explains Abby Renner, RE/MAX Nexus Owner and Managing Broker. “I think today most people expect that companies will be socially responsible, building trust and a feeling of unity for the areas they serve. Nexus wants to be a positive example of the enormous impact a small business can have on the community it serves. “
A recent social study suggests building relationship starts by making genuine connections with customers, then finding ways to contribute to the larger good. Major benefits for community engagement are a boost in employment and discretionary income in the community, tax income increases for local governments, as well as building a loyal customer base.
RE/MAX Nexus employees and Realtors are encouraged to connect through participation in local events and activities, volunteering in schools, neighborhoods and church organizations, as well as food drives, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice, Special Olympics and volunteering with non-profit organizations to promote affordable housing.
“Each year RE/MAX Nexus plans how and where to provide local support, sponsorship and volunteers to offer the most impact,” Renner comments. “This year, we chose 22 events. Then we challenged our Realtors™ by offering Community Engagement Grants to enable them to financially participate in local events. We see our effort as having a win-win outcome for everyone.” Experience shows that businesses that foster a sense of community and get their employees on board with being involved in the community build leadership, increase morale, teamwork and productivity.
RE/MAX Nexus’ Annual Fall Festival, an event hundreds of residents now look forward to attending each October, lets our community know that we are there to “care and share,” says Renner. This year will be the 4th year of the Festival with all proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network benefiting the local children’s hospital in Erie. Each year the event grows, joined by new volunteer groups and other businesses. With a pancake breakfast, balloon rides, activities for youngsters, face painting, a pumpkin give-away and other events, the Festival provides an opportunity for the community to enjoy time together for a great cause.
RE/MAX Nexus believes employees and Realtors™ who “give back, encourage healthy and productive relationships among themselves as well as the community, their clients and residents of the Carbon Valley. “Having a sense of community unites us,“ comments Renner, “and what makes a community strong is everyone working together in the best interests of us all.”
You can contact Abby Renner at 970.295.4760 or check out her staff and inventory at www.NexusForSale.com.