Jim Connell

Doc Connell rides for Wings Home fundraiser

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

There will be no buckets of ice water for Allegan veterinarian and Wings Home fundraiser Jim Connell this year.

“That was very cold. I don’t want to do that again,” he said at this month’s meeting of the Allegan Township board, of which he is a trustee.

What he will be doing is riding his bicycle. A lot.

The “OFG Wings Home 500” is his newest concoction to raise money for the local nonprofit which provides a home-like place for clients to live under the care of Wings of Hope Hospice. Volunteers and staff provide 24-hour care.

On the GoFundMe page for this effort, www.gofundme.com/ride-for-a-good-cause, Connell writes, “This is part of my commitment to Wings Home, to the community and to myself in my drive to ‘Rock the Rehab’!! Following my open heart surgery at the end of last November, my commitment to myself is to follow through and stay as active as I can and show the entire community that even an Old Fat Guy”—thus, the “OFG”—“can remain active after major surgery... and have fun doing it.”

He plans to pedal all throughout the Allegan area, estimating he’ll end up spending a total of about 36 hours on the “skinny seat,” all while hopefully gathering donations.

“Make a pledge per mile or a flat amount. Anything you can do is truly appreciated,” he wrote.

He has set a goal of getting the miles in by mid-August and raising $10,000, an amount he and others achieved when they partook in his previous fundraising idea: an ice bucket challenge on several very chilly, recent New Year’s days.

On July 15, after officially starting the challenge July 1, he wrote on his Facebook page: “143 miles in the books so far. I’m finding it a little challenging to find the time amidst the last of putting up hay and swimming three mornings a week and working. Today and tomorrow are days of rest before the Tri Allegan triathlon. I’ll get that out of the way then I can concentrate on making miles...

“This community’s generosity is beginning to show.”

He reminded the public they may donate to him or directly to Wings Home or www.wingshome.org (put “OFG 500” in the comment).

“This is a lot warmer and a little healthier,” he said at the township meeting. “I’m having a good time, and I invite people to ride along if they want.”

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

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