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Fifth annual Harmony Hustle sustains “A Brush with Kindness” projects


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Jun 27th, 2014
Posted in Harmony Health & Wellness

Children participate in the 1K Kid’s Challenge, a part of the Harmony Hustle event. Photo submitted

“We’ve raised more than $18,000 in support of Habitat,” said Harmony Hustle co-organizer Ralph Beastrom who helps organize the Harmony Hustle, a 10K run, 5K run/walk, and a 1K Kid’s Challenge all part of Harmony’s Fourth of July celebration weekend.

The “A Brush with Kindness” program helps low income homeowners by offering exterior home improvements including painting, landscaping, and minor exterior repairs. Minimal expense for the projects are deferred to the homeowner and work is done by volunteers.

Harmony has completed two “A Brush with Kindness” projects and a third is in the works. The first two projects included building an entrance ramp and exterior painting. The current project included building a ramp last year and completing landscaping and exterior painting this year. To Beastrom’s knowledge, another application for Harmony has been submitted.

So how does the Harmony Hustle tie in? Five years ago, Beastrom and his daughter Sharyl Bergen of Peterson organized the first Harmony Hustle as a fun event for Harmony. “We felt we needed a cause to help attract participants and since the Habitat for Humanity steering committee was considering building a Habitat home in Harmony, we decided that proceeds would go to Habitat, said Beastrom. “Since then, Megan [Grebe], Sharyl, and I have been organizing the event.”

Five years ago when the event first started, the Hustle saw its largest count of participants, almost 200. Since then numbers have declined, but Beastrom figures it is due to how the 4th of July falls during the week. “Last year was our lowest number with 110 participants, but we felt that was influenced by where the 4th fell during the week. With the 4th on a Friday this year, we expect more families to be around for the weekend.”

The Harmony Hustle coordinators and volunteers are looking for a group of anywhere from 125-150 participants.

“I think the fun run/walk events are certainly enjoyed by a lot of people,” said Beastrom, “In our case, the community gets together for some fun while supporting our neighbors who need a little help. The “A Brush with Kindness” project has been very rewarding for me by helping me get to know my neighbors better and providing a needed service.”

If you would like to participate in the Harmony Hustle, the event is Saturday, July 5, 2014. Anyone can participate either as an individual or in a group. The 10K begins at 7:30 a.m., 5K at 9 a.m. and the 1K Kid’s Challenge at 10 a.m.

Entry fees are $25 per person for the 10K, $20 per person for the 5K, participants 10 and under are free. Entry fee for the 1K Kids Challenge for kids 10 and under is $5.

Registration can be completed online at www.habitatwinona.org/events/harmony-hustle-2 or mail registration. Registration can also be done on race day 7-8:30 a.m. at the Harmony Visitor Center.

Awards are presented for first, second, and third place male and female finishers for the 10K. Participants will receive awards for finishing first place in each age division and overall winners. All participants in the Kids Challenge will receive a prize.

All registrants will receive a bag filled with surprises. T-shirts are available for an additional $10. Water and refreshments will be provided for all participants at the event.

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