Father’s love inspires local runners

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When an invitation was extended for me to emcee an event on June 23, I was interested in details before accepting. What I discovered was a wonderful new nonprofit that I was unaware existed. Team Hoyt Coeur d’Alene is a 501(c)(3) organization that’s a shared passion of board president Laurie Aikins, secretary Mike Lowery, treasurer Nancy Lowery, and board members Maria Scaletta, Vladamir Ampleyev and Cynthia Rozyla.

It’s an off-shoot of Team Hoyt, which was inspired by the journey of a loving father and his son. Dick Hoyt’s son, Rick, suffered an injury at birth and has cerebral palsy, confining him to life in a wheelchair and limiting his communication via computer technology. When Rick was 15 he asked his dad to run with him, which meant that Dick pushed his son in a chair. To say the experience was life-changing would be a monumental understatement.

Rick is now 55 and he and his father have completed 1,200 races in the past four decades. A number of those were Ironman triathlons, in which Dick swam 2.4 miles while pulling his son in a raft, cycled 112 miles with his son in an attached seat and ran the last 26 miles pushing Rick in a specially designed chair. Incredible and inspiring are two words that simply don’t do justice to this father/son duo.

Team Hoyt Coeur d’Alene pairs up a local runner with a disabled rider athlete to provide the experience of camaraderie, inclusion and crossing a finish line. The nonprofit, which is run solely by volunteers, raises the funds to pay all of the race entry fees and to buy the special running chairs and equipment. There is no cost to the disabled athlete to participate. It’s one of the purest nonprofit models around and I love the passion of Laurie and Nancy and our local running community.

In my research of the Dick and Rick Hoyt story I came across a 4-minute video that I wish everyone would take a moment to watch: http://tinyurl.com/y7sh7ozq.

On Friday, June 23 “An Evening with Dick Hoyt” will take place at the Hagadone Event Center to benefit Team Hoyt Coeur d’Alene. This will be a rare opportunity to hear the inspiring words of a man who has epitomized a father’s selfless and unconditional love. His motto of “Yes You Can” is one he’s lived a thousand times over. For ticket information or to become involved, email teamhoytcda@gmail.com, www.teamhoytcda.com or (208) 818-2097.

• • •

Father’s Day evokes thoughts and memories of my own father as well as the father that fate and providence brought into the lives of my three daughters in 1986 when Bert and I were married. Three daughters, two of whom were teenagers, created a ready-made family and no shortage of teen angst and drama. But through it all for three decades Bert has loved unconditionally these daughters of ours. He wasn’t there at their birth but has been their north star through every important milestone and crossroad. For every man who has loved and raised their children by marriage, blessings tenfold. I’m convinced there’s a special place in heaven for you all. Happy Father’s Day!

• • •

Things to Do Highlights: Today at 2 p.m. American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls will hold a flag retirement ceremony with Cub Scout Pack 13 and the combined Honor Guard of Post 143 and Post 154. Public is welcome.

Tonight is the Hayden Chamber Business Expo for the public to come see great local businesses. 4-7 p.m. at the former Sports Authority at Silver Lake Mall. Free to all. Also tonight is Live After 5 at McEuen Park with the Kelly Hughes Band at 5 p.m.

On Thursday is Heritage Health From the Heart fundraiser at Art Spirit Gallery, 5:30 p.m. Also Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre kicks off its 50th year of live musical theatre with opening night of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" at the Kroc, 7:30 p.m. The show runs through June 29.

On Friday, the Post Falls Chamber’s Post Falls Open Golf Tournament, noon at The Links.

Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon youth ages 5-14 can fish with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Falls Park. Look for the Take Me Fishing trailer.

• • •

My husband and no doubt a lot of men are looking forward to an epic gear head Father’s Day weekend. Car d’Lane Friday night cruise and Saturday swap meet and show. Saturday at 5 p.m. American Big Rig semi-trucks will race at Stateline Speedway, followed by a fireworks display. On Father’s Day the Hauser Lake Lions Club is cooking up breakfast at the fire house from 7 to 11 a.m., Spirit Lake hosts the annual Big Back In lawn mower drag races on Maine Street at noon and the Post Falls Community Volunteers barbecue at 2 p.m. followed by the Blue Mustangs for a free concert to celebrate fathers and summer at Q’emiln Park in the Lions Grand Pavilion at 3 p.m.

• • •

Today is Flag Day and we celebrate the 240th anniversary of the Continental Congress approving the design for our nation’s flag, which it did on June 14, 1777.

• • •

Happy Flag Day birthdays today to Oskar Owens, Christina Hatfield, Shawna Virgil, Don Morgan, Chris Doyle, Lisa Odenberg, Carmen Myklebust, Brandon Bedwell, Susan Noble and Steve Bruno.

Thursday, Sharon Bruno, Jody Piper, Jeffrey Benjamin, John McMurray, Richard Wegner, Taylor Brockhoff, Bob Friske, John Hopper and Joe Hutchinson blow out the birthday candles.

June 16 is the birthday of Tim Shepperd, Jay Troy, Steve Smalley, Taylor Brockhoff, Bill Dick, Desiree Barclift, Darick Pope (40!), Brenda Gabriel, Frank Bybee, Stephen Parmentier, Shelly Cunnington, Richard Wegner and Rebecca Morelli.

On Saturday Raydeane Owens (50!), Jim Foote, Susan Reilly, Vicky Houle, Brenda Gabriel, Jesse Bishop, Leigh Cossette, Jennifer Smith and Dana Scholwinski take another trip around the sun.

Jim Hammond, Wanda McLean, Katy Meeks and Sean Watson (40!) will celebrate on Father’s Day.

On Monday Jim Morrison, Jake Capaul, Peggy Beebe, Jennifer Smock, Kelly Gwinn, Doug Harwood, Jerry Riggs, Mel Swatzenberg, Genia Wortman, Lauren Hoffman, Sue Shibley, Bill Cope, Twyla Cope and Joey Flood will blow out the candles.

Kristen Enders, Lynda Nutt, Christi Fleischman, Daniel Davis, Sherin Diehl, Mark Appleby and Eva Jones are getting their party on come Tuesday.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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