Category Archives: Life & Leisure

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Ride for Angels: Hospice of Davidson County

By Renee Shipko

Photos provided by Hoy Beck

For nearly 30 years, Hospice of Davidson County has been committed to providing specialized medical care and emotional and spiritual support to patients and families facing end of life.  Hospice care is a type of individualized care that supports emotional and spiritual needs while providing expert care for pain control and symptom management.  Hospice care is delivered in homes throughout the county, in long term care facilities and at the county’s only inpatient hospice program, The Henry Etta and Bruce Hinkle Hospice House, located off of US Highway 64 East in Lexington.

In an effort to raise funds to support patient services, Hospice of Davidson County hosted its first memorial motorcycle ride in 2008.  The event was organized by a volunteer committee who came together to honor the memory of loved ones who had passed away as a result of a terminal illness.  Participation and enthusiasm about the event has grown every year since its inception in 2008, and the ride now attracts more than 500 participants.  The event is a significant one for Hospice of Davidson County, raising nearly $20,000 annually to benefit patient care.

DSC_2655This year marks the 7th annual Ride for Angels event, which will be held on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at Denton FarmPark.  The ride is escorted annually by members of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Department and travels a route that weaves across the southern part of the county.  The ride departs from Denton FarmPark around 10:45 a.m. and returns riders to the park, where they enjoy a lunch and entertainment following the ride.

Pre-registration for this year’s ride is $15 per bike, and $5 for an additional rider.  Commemorative T-shirts are available for purchase as well.  Day of registration increases to $20 per bike and $5 for an additional rider.  Ride participants, the majority of whom ride in memory of a loved one who benefited from hospice care, are encouraged to share memories or photos of loved ones on the agency’s Memorial Wall at the event.

The 7th annual Ride for Angels Motorcycle Ride is sponsored by Younts Insurance and Wake Forest Baptist Health-Lexington Medical Center.  Additional sponsorships are provided by WLXN KOOL 1440 AM and 99.9 FM radio in Lexington, Creative Carpets and Holladay Surgical Supply.

Hospice of Davidson County is one of the largest non-profit member agencies of the United Way of Davidson County.  In 2013, the agency provided hospice care to more than 700 patients while providing grief support to nearly 3,000 individuals in the 17 communities that encompass Davidson County.  More than half of the agency’s workforce, which exceeds 100 employees, are from or live in Davidson County, which translates to a better understanding of the uniqueness of the rural county.  And, with patients located in all corners of the county, Hospice of Davidson County is the most responsive provider of hospice care in our area.

For more information about hospice care or to register for the 7th annual Ride for Angels motorcycle ride, please call (336) 475-5444.

2013 RIVER RAT DONATION PICTURE

High Rock Lake River Rats

By Julia Euliss

In the mid-1980s, a group of friends comprised of residents of High Rock Lake and “weekend warriors” congregated regularly to socialize. In 1987, while the group was gathered at a Southmont facility for a Christmas party, a need in the community was made known to those present and the group took up a collection of $650.00 to help. The following year, a similar event occurred and $1,250.00 was collected to help the needy, including a family whose home had been destroyed by fire. In 1989, the group decided to further the tradition by holding an auction of items donated by local individuals and businesses to raise money to buy Santa gifts, food, and clothing for local needy families.

This worthwhile endeavor, combined with the social element, generated increasing interest from members of the community and throughout Davidson County. The original group of roughly 14 individuals created an informal club and elected officers. Club membership was established and immediately began to grow in number.

In the mid-1990s, the River Rats adopted a set of by-laws to establish policies and provide guidance for its growing membership. The River Rats soon became the host for semi-annual golf tournaments benefiting the American Children’s Home and other worthy causes.

scanned River Rat redrawn no lettersThe club assisted in cleaning High Rock Lake in First Citizens Operation Big Sweep in the early 1990s. Over the next ten years, the River Rats gradually assumed the total responsibility for organizing and conducting the cleanup of High Rock Lake in Davidson County and portions of Rowan County. After 2000, lake level fluctuation intermittently prohibited the group from conducting the operation on the water during several statewide events. In 2007, Davidson Water Inc. adopted the project for Davidson County.

The annual Christmas Benefit has drawn in as many as 300 attendees. Through the auction of hundreds of donated items and services, the event raised funds in excess of $20,000 each year. Proceeds were distributed to deserving families and children to meet a multitude of needs.

Since its humble beginnings, the River Rats has evolved into a North Carolina chartered non-profit corporation, specifically The High Rock Lake River Rats Inc. Incorporated in 1999, the group presently maintains an average of 75 members. The corporation is administrated by a nine-member executive board comprised of four officers and five directors elected by the membership.

In 2013, over $15,000 was donated to families, American Children’s Home, Nazareth Children’s Homes and 175 children in need through yearlong fundraisers.  To find out how you can get involved and to learn about upcoming events, please visit www.highrocklakeriverratsinc.com or find us on Facebook (HIGH ROCK LAKE RIVER RATS – look for the rat cartoon logo). You may also call Julia Euliss at 336-210-6571 or email jeuliss@triad.rr.com for more information.

 

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Tour de Kale

By Kale Watkins

Growing up on High Rock Lake near Denton, NC was a great childhood because I have always loved adventure and being outdoors. That love carried through to adulthood, so I moved out west to live in the mountains at Lake Tahoe, CA where I could ski, cycle, kayak, fish and be outdoors on an epic level.

On February 3, 2000, I broke my neck while skiing and my life was changed forever. Being paralyzed at age 30 was not in my plans, and for the first time I was scared about my future. Then my amazing friends, family and the overall community of Denton stepped up in a big way. In just four short months they organized the first annual Tour De Kale as a benefit for me, but also as a tribute to my love for cycling and the outdoors.

After the accident, I was in intensive care for 45 days, followed immediately by three months of spinal cord rehab. Needless to say, I was quite consumed mentally and physically trying to learn a new way of life. Little did I know that my hometown community was just as busy donating their time, money and expertise to building what is now one of the premiere cycling events in NC, if not the entire Southeast.

Tour-de-Kale-logoI flew back to NC on June 15 and woke up in the house I grew up in the next morning to the most memorable day of my life. Almost every person I had known growing up was there. They were cooking BBQ chicken or registering cyclists. They were making signs to point the cyclists in the right direction. They were directing traffic or parking cars. Everything was so well organized it was hard to believe this had come together in such a short time. All that was going on was overwhelming. Words cannot describe the pride and love I felt for these people.

Incredibly, that first day has parlayed into a truly amazing event. Even though it was a tremendous success, each year the Tour De Kale has evolved to become even better. Each aspect has become more finely tuned and has always been organized with three things in mind: 1) to raise money for someone in need; 2) to establish an unforgettable experience for everyone and 3), to do it all safely.

The TDK organizers realized that even though I was fortunate enough to have medical insurance, the medical expenses quickly got completely out of control. The proceeds from the TDK gave me financial hope. We all try to keep this in mind each year when we choose one individual (two at the most) to receive all of the proceeds from the event. We have 100% volunteer staff so after we pay our expenses, every single penny that is raised goes directly to benefit that person.

After a couple of years, we added a running/walking event to get non-cyclists involved. Even though we conduct both events on one day each year (the third weekend in June), the organization goes on behind the scenes virtually year round. Securing sponsors, implementing policies, establishing leadership and shaping volunteer groups all develop behind the scenes. There are so many segments to forming a successful event that few people can appreciate.

bikeridersI always say, “We need feet on the ground; that is what makes us successful. If you know someone who wants to donate time or give financial support, we have something for them to do.” This is something that people will not only enjoy, but that will also instill in them a sense of pride and ownership that is difficult to find elsewhere. When those hundreds of cyclists, runners and volunteers roll through the small streets of Denton, there is a feeling of accomplishment that is addicting, not to mention how great it feels to know this is all done to try and make someone’s life better.

I have the great fortune to be involved with this event and we encourage everyone to join us. As it turns out, the benefit is not only for those who are in financial need, but it helps us all to be better neighbors, friends and human beings. But then, of course, I’m biased.

Join us for the Tour de Kale on June 21st.  Register online for our Walk, Run or Ride to help support this great cause at TourdeKale.com.

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Standing Up Against Crime: National Night Out 2014

On August 5, 2014, Lexington will once again host the annual National Night Out event on Main Street. Standing up against criminal activity is a great way to support our community and the public servants who help keep our streets safe.

2014 marks the 31st anniversary of the event. This year the National Night Out campaign expects 16,124 different communities across the nation to participate.

Lexington started participating in the event in the early 1990s, says Lt. Shannon Sharpe of the Lexington Police Department.  Since then, the event has grown to become one of the largest in the state and possibly the whole East Coast. There are approximately 4,000 to 6,000 Lexington community residents who attend this annual event.

nationalnightoutLexThe purpose of National Night Out is to heighten crime and drug awareness, generate support for anticrime efforts, strengthen neighborhood spirit and encourage police-community partnerships. It is also designed to send a message to criminals, letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back against criminal activity.

In 2012, Lexington Police Department ranked 14th in the nation for city populations of 15,000 – 49,999.  In 2013, that ranking improved to 11th in the nation. This is a prestigious award and recognition for a national event in our area.

Currently, there are 13 different communities within Davidson County that have active criminal watch programs.  Each of these programs has a block captain or several individuals who are responsible for providing handouts, flyers and other information about community crime fighting efforts.

Many might be aware of the “Lights On” campaign when homeowners turn on their outdoor lights after they turn their home lights off as a visual reminder that they support crime fighting efforts in their neighborhoods and community. This awareness campaign is ongoing and coincides with the National Night Out date.

As the local event has grown in size, so have the different activities during the observance. New this year will be a BB gun and bow and arrow area where visitors can test their skills. Plans are also in the works to arrange for an FBI unit to be on location with their Hostage Rescue Team. The celebration will also include many of the annual draws like karate demonstrations, DWI simulators, free hotdogs, bounce houses and much more.

Two stages located on Main Street will provide entertainment, thanks to event sponsors including Hayes Jewelers and BB&T. This year’s National Night Out takes place from 6 pm – 9 pm and streets will be shut down in preparation for the event beginning at 3 pm.

Captain Robby Rummage tells us, “This event is about a community coming together to interact with our public service officers as well as support the cause to stomp out crime.”

Although the National Night Out takes place one night each year, the ongoing effort to fight crime in our communities continues throughout the year.  To find out more about how your neighborhood or community can get involved, contact your local police or sheriff’s departments in your community to learn more.