Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Working hard for their money

Fire didn?t stop fundraiser or racers

Express Staff Writer

    One was by land, the other by … the canal.
    Two local organizations slated for fundraising events during the Beaver Creek Fire didn’t waver from their missions, proving that moxie is stronger than fire.
    Local dad and water enthusiast Craig Wolfrom was at the helm of the Wood River Wave Project that aims to turn Bellevue’s low-head dam into a whitewater wave park.
    “At first we were going to cancel it,” Wolfrom said of the party at Mahoney’s Friday night when portions of the valley—but not Bellevue—were being prepared to evacuate.
    “But people kept coming. I guess they needed to get away from it all.”
    Author and outdoor enthusiast Matt Leidecker, whose dramatic photos from his flaming backyard kept Facebookers gasping for hours, took his family down to shake it out to the band “Stone Seed.”
    “It was so cool to see people dancing and letting their hair down amidst all this stress,” Wolfrom said.
    Though he thought the night was a financial bust at first, in the end he found that the project raised several thousand dollars toward its goal to hire an engineer to draft plans for the renovation of the dam.
    The dream is to turn it into a park where kids can swim, fish can move up and down the river (and be kept out of the canal), and a white water play wave can be surfed.
    Another group was also undeterred by the fire. A local team of runners headed over to the Grand Teton Relay on behalf of the Girls on the Run of the Wood River Valley for a 180-mile race from Ashton, Idaho to Jackson, Wyo. Among them were Jessica MacDonald, whose husband, Alex, was helping his father defend his property located above St. Luke’s Hospital south of Ketchum.
    Two others, who also traveled to the race, found out that their homes in Croy Canyon had survived unscathed when they discovered an Idaho Mountain Express online story about the firefight in the canyon.
    While it was “strange to watch from afar,” GOTR Executive Director Mary Fauth said it helped ease the anxiety in a somewhat helpless circumstance.
    “We decided what better way to show girls in the program what’s really important,” she said.
    “As one teammate and former coach Julie Brown said, ‘I think ultimately our goal is to finish...and have a great time doing it.’
    “It doesn’t matter how long it takes as long as we are smiling and laughing while we are doing it—that is really what it is all about!”

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