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Trail ride raises $8,000 for Serving Our Servants

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious The Prairie RIvers Trail Ride organizing crew presents a check to Fort Dodge Police Chief Roger Porter and Fort Dodge Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter, care of Fort Dodge Community Foundation, for $8,000. The money, which will be split between the fire department and police department, was raised this year in honor of the late Rev. Al Henderson.

Despite a slight downturn in riders due to COVID-19, Prairie Rivers Trail Ride managed to raise $8,000 for Serving Our Servants to benefit the Fort Dodge Fire Department and Fort Dodge Police Department in honor of the late Rev. Al Henderson.

The bicycle ride in its second year brought out about 175 riders, just slightly down from under 200 last year. But what it lacked in riders, it made up for in fundraising.

The annual effort, started last year in honor of Josh Doyle, selects a new beneficiary for fundraising efforts each year.

This year, the donation will be held in a special fund for Serving Our Servants by the Fort Dodge Community Foundation to be used by the fire and police departments for their various community outreach efforts.

The Fort Dodge Fire Department will use the funds to help citizens install free smoke alarms to fill a need for many Fort Dodge residents that was previously filled by the state fire marshal, which has experienced a cut in funding, according to Fire Chief Steve Hergenreter. Thanks to the program, Fort Dodge residents in burning buildings have been alerted with enough time to save their lives.

The Fort Dodge Police Department will determine how to use the funding soon for various community efforts, given the pause of many community events in light of the pandemic, according to Chief Roger Porter. Porter said the department will focus the funds on community relations and outreach.

“These guys put their lives on the line every day,” said ride organizer Bruce Breeser, proud to donate the funds to SOS, the organization started by Henderson.

The senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Henderson was the chaplain for the police and fire departments, the Webster County Sheriff’s Department and Iowa State Patrol Post 7.

“Al Henderson did a lot for our community. A lot of people don’t know a lot of the things he’d done,” Breeser previously told The Messenger.

Local sponsors and donors have noticed the effort in its second year, and there’s no shortage of people waiting to sponsor the next run.

“This shows what we’re doing is the right thing for the right reason,” Breeser said.

Last year’s efforts raised about $7,000 and provided a total of seven AED (automated external defibrillator) machines at various Fort Dodge locations focused on youth recreation. Doyle, whose memory was honored by the effort, died suddenly at age 29 from a rare heart condition.

The Prairie Rivers Trail Ride thanks the following sponsors for their contributions this year: Citizens Community Credit Union, Kemna Auto of Fort Dodge, Baker Electric, Best Western Starlite Village Inn & Suites, Iowa H2O, Brookstone Inn & Suites, Optic Ink Custom Apparel, River Hops Brewing, McGough Inc., The Sports Page Bar & Grill, Doster AG Farm Drainage, Doyle Construction, BHJ, Creative Signs & Graphics, Rasch Construction Inc., Woodruff Construction LLC, Sparkle Car Wash, Shimkat Motor Co., Moeller Furnace, Otter Box, Iowa Heart Center, Amigo’s, Brown’s Shoe Fit Co., First State Bank, Walker’s Bike Shop, C and S Products Co. Inc., and Carpet World Flooring America.

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