Back in April, Thrivent Financial donated $4,000 to Western Wisconsin Health’s We Care Program. The We Care Program provides a recyclable grocery bag full of food along with community resources for those identified with a need in the hospital or clinic. Jesse Kvitek and Thomas Olek are the two St. Croix financial representatives from Thrivent Financial Baldwin that helped these funds come to fruition for the We Care Program.

Through a Thrivent Financial Action Team Thomas Olek, an avid and competitive cyclist, dedicated additional funds to the We Care Program through his fundraiser, Wheels Down for We Care. Thrivent Financial Action Teams are opportunities for investors to organize fundraising events for charities and programs they are passionate about. Thomas’ Action Team rode 200 plus miles, starting and ending at Western Wisconsin Health for the We Care Program and what an incredible journey they had. Here is Thomas’ recollection of a great journey for a great cause!

“The morning ride began at Western Wisconsin Health at 6:15 a.m. Anticipation was high leading into the ride as Tanner nor I had completed 200 miles in one ride. Jacob had completed 200 miles plus ride and knew it wouldn’t be easy. We didn’t know what the weather would be like and all agreed that we were riding no matter what. I was super happy to have these two with me for the trip as 200 miles alone would have been a long and hard journey.

Highlight #1 was having Rosa Magnus, Development Manager, Kendra Shaw, Chief of Operations and a few night shift nurses at Western Wisconsin Health for the send off! It was a smooth start until mile 40 when my brother had a spoke snap on his wheel. This slowed down our pace to finish during the daylight but luckily, we had a support crew and they were able to get us a wheel within 20 miles; which in turn enabled us to restore our pace.

Our GPS took us on some scenic routes full of beautiful hills and lots of sun. One part of our route included a bridge that was no longer there and in its place was a rushing river we couldn’t walk our bikes through; so, we turned around and had to do a bit of a detour. We made it to Red Wing and had a couple of donuts to fuel up for the next leg of the ride. This next leg found heat in the hills and no wind to help cool us.

Luckily, we had plenty of water and were able to cool down and keep going. We stopped in Plum City for a while where we rehydrated and watched the trout swim around the town pond. Next was Eau Claire for ice cream at Olson’s - it was so good on a hot day. We left for the final leg home back to Western Wisconsin Health and had a touch of rain but missed most of it.

As we got closer to the 200 miles our pace picked up as we could see the end in sight. In the end we completed 212 miles returning around 8 p.m. to Western Wisconsin Health with welcome back signs greeting us and Rosa awaiting our return. That’s dedication and we were so grateful.

In reflection and speaking for all the riders, we feel so blessed to be able to help in such a way that we can make a difference. This was our first time being bigger than ourselves and we feel fulfilled but hungry for more. I couldn’t have done it without all of our supporters and riders. In all we raised roughly $2,500 for the We Care Program at Western Wisconsin Health and I’m hoping this won’t be the last time you hear about the Wheels down for We Care Ride.”

From Rosa Magnus: On behalf of Western Wisconsin Health, we would like to thank and recognize Thomas Olek, Jacob Olsen and Tanner Olek for their incredible generosity for We Care. We are grateful to all of you for this amazing accomplishment to help so many. Because of your efforts and funds raised, our We Care Program will be sustainable well into more than half of 2020. Thank you!

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