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February 22, 2020

Submitted photo

Local volunteers from the 2019 Rhinelander Turkey Trot recently presented a check to the Rhinelander Salvation Army for $1,745 to help community members in need. Pictured, from left to right, are Amanda Jahn, Jan Leschke, Tom Jerow, Kyle Rogers and Jayme Wyss. Andy Wyss was not available for the photograph.
Submitted photo

Local volunteers from the 2019 Rhinelander Turkey Trot recently presented a check to the Rhinelander Salvation Army for $1,745 to help community members in need. Pictured, from left to right, are Amanda Jahn, Jan Leschke, Tom Jerow, Kyle Rogers and Jayme Wyss. Andy Wyss was not available for the photograph.
1/16/2020 7:30:00 AM
Rhinelander Turkey Trot raises money for local charities
Stephanie Kuski
River News Features Reporter

Funds raised on Thanksgiving Day during the 2019 Turkey Trot in Rhinelander were presented to representatives of the Rhinelander Salvation Army on Friday, Jan. 10.

"The Turkey Trot is a fun 5K Thanksgiving run that we put on here in Rhinelander," Turkey Trot race director Andy Wyss said. "It's just a fun way to bring people together on Thanksgiving morning before everybody stuffs themselves, and get a little run in and raise money for the community."

Hosted by St. Mark Lutheran Church, the 5K run around Spring Lake Road in Rhinelander helped raise money for three separate local charities.

Although still in its infancy, the 2019 run raised more money and had more participants than last year, according to registration coordinator Jayme Wyss, Andy's wife.

In total, the Turkey Trot raised $5,235, which is approximately $400 more per charity compared to last year, the first year of the event. The funds were split evenly among three area charities: the Rhinelander Salvation Army, Northwoods Habitat for Humanity and Camp American Legion in Lake Tomahawk.

"We really feel like we want the money to go where it's going to do the most good," Andy Wyss explained. "We know the Salvation Army has a great history of putting their money to work in the best way possible right here in Rhinelander, and that's what we want to support."

"The Northwoods Habitat for Humanity has a similar organizational structure to the Rhinelander Salvation Army, so it's also helping local groups," Wyss added. "Camp American Legion has a big construction project going on, so that money will go towards those improvements."

"From our end, 100% of what we raise goes to those organizations," Jayme Wyss noted.

Keeping the funds within the local community was an important factor for all those involved.

"It stays here, it's not helping somebody in Timbuktu," Jan Leschke, Rhinelander Salvation Army board member and bell ringer coordinator, noted. "Which is important because you're helping people you know, people in our community who need it."

"It warms my heart to know that we're helping people right here," Leschke said. "We're all just one disaster away from needing it ourselves."

The Turkey Trot donation to the Rhinelander Salvation Army will go to Rhinelander's ACES (Association of Churches for Emergency Support), which provides vouchers for area individuals seeking support.

Amanda Jahn, service representative for the Rhinelander Salvation Army, works with ACES and the Salvation Army to write these vouchers for those in need. She said she deals with many who are combating mental illness and homelessness in our area, providing immediate relief when possible and necessary, even when that means a midnight phone call.

Jahn affirmed that the money raised within the community stays in the community to help local individuals when they need help the most.

"The stories I've been told are just amazing and heartwarming," Jahn said.

Those touching stories are just one of many reasons why volunteers like Tom Jerow with the Rhinelander Salvation Army dedicates his time and efforts to this cause.

"Everything that we raised in our bucket goes to help local people," Jerow said.

According to Jerow, $0.86 of every dollar donated to the Rhinelander Salvation Army goes to local individuals in need, whether that be in the form of disaster relief or financial assistance. The other $0.14 goes to larger efforts to provide relief for individuals as well as veterans seeking assistance. For example, Jerow said, after extreme flooding in Ashland some years ago, money that was donated through the Rhinelander Salvation Army was used to provide disaster relief to locals in that area.

In this way, 100% of the funds that are donated to the Rhinelander Salvation Army goes to individuals, and most of that money stays within the state.

The $1,745 donated to the Rhinelander Salvation Army from the Turkey Trot will be added to the 2019 Red Kettle totals, which were down over $10,000 from their goal.

"So we'll get closer to our goal of $55,000," Jerow said.

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