Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run returns profits to the community


Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run / Walk on October 3 returns profits to the community

MONROE – When more than 350 runners take off at Lake Tye Park on Sunday, October 3, it’s the community at large that benefits.
The Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run / Walk serves as a fundraiser for a growing tree of charitable projects under the Kaci name: one donates teddy bears to firefighters and medical services; another awards an annual scholarship to a senior from Monroe High; another book of backpacks for students in need; yet another gives out kindness cards.
Joni and Boyd Edelbrock want to make sure their bouncy baby girl is remembered. They have done their best by creating the Big Smile Big Heart Foundation.
The foundation’s next big business is an escape camp for families facing sudden trauma. This summer, the family bought land off of Highway 203 to begin developing the camp. They envision baseball fields, pumpkin fields and animals, Joni Edelbrock said.
There might not be another place like this in the state.
“It’s to create a place of joy and healing for families, for children who have been through trauma,” said Joni Edelbrock. “A place where people can come, where children can come and smile. “
Unfortunately, the family knows this firsthand.
Kaci, 6, and her grandmother Lois Edelbrock were killed in a catastrophic motorhome accident as the family returned home from a camping trip on September 3, 2018. Other people on the campsite -car were seriously injured. A flat tire triggered it.
Losing so much has shaped their mission to help others. “We know we want to take something that can tear you down and find the light,” Joni Edelbrock said.
Here we are today.
At 5K, a bronze statue of Kaci Edelbrock will be unveiled near the baseball fields in Lake Tye Park. Kaci was a softball and T-ball player.
The statue, entitled “Kaci with the bat”, is in itself a story of generosity.
Tod Johnson, owner of a car dealership who trained another team, had the statue made.
“It’s the greatest honor a parent can get,” Joni Edelbrock. They didn’t know Johnson very well. He approached them, wanting to give them the honor.
The inscription he chose reads Grit, Determination and Joy.
“She was the smallest on the pitch but with the biggest heart,” said Joni Edelbrock.
Community support helps propel the Big Smile Big Heart Foundation. The foundation gives it back to the community. The annual Monroe High Seniors Scholarship, for example, will be increased each year until 2030, the year Kaci Edelbrock would have graduated from high school.
The spirit of Kaci Edelbrock will continue to provide many years of giving.

Inscriptions Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run / Walk
Pre-registration for the Kaci Edelbrock 5K is until October 1. Registration is $ 30. To register, go to www.bigheartbigsmile.org/kaci-5k
Latecomers can register on site. Register at the Lake Tye Park kiosk.

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