Walkers in Clear Lake and Fort Dodge raised over $118,000 for Opportunity Village in the 45th Annual Benefit Walk on May 4.
The goal was $150,000. The actual amount raised often goes up as donations continue to come in. Walkers sought sponsorship gifts to the non-profit Village, which provides services to 550 Iowans with disabilities. On Sunday, walkers chose between 10, 3, or 1 mile routes.
Lauren Maertens and family took top honors again this year for highest amount raised, $15,618, with the help of her dad Dennis Maertens. Lauren lives at the Village in Clear Lake.
Top Village team was “Kim’s Crusaders” which raised an estimated $34,786 by Walk day. Other top teams included the Proclaimers, $27,058, and Volkswalkers, $21,791. The Benefit Walk included over 300 employees, people served by the Village, and community participants.
Walkers in Fort Dodge raised approximately $6,134 of the grand total. Northwoods Living, a service of Opportunity Village, organizes the Walk in Fort Dodge.
Mary Johnson and her parents, Charles and Pat Johnson, and sister Denise Largent, were named to the Benefit Walk Hall of Fame. This Mason City family has been part of the Village family for 37 years since Mary moved here. Since they started participating in the Benefit Walk, they have raised $22,574 for the Village.
The Village also honored Paul Hassman, New Hampton, who turned 100 this year. Hassman has been involved in the Benefit Walk faithfully since 1989 and took top honors for most money raised for 16 of those years. He raised $2,460 in donations this year, bringing his lifetime total to $81,377. Hassman walked a portion of the route with family members and visited with friends on the Walk.