The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

August 1, 2012

SMITH: Good job, RAGBRAI volunteers

CLINTON — We cannot let another day go by without thanking many special people and groups for all they did for RAGBRAI. 

An event this big could not have gone off in such a great way without all of these wonderful people.

First, the Clinton RAGBRAI Executive Committee and sub-chairs.  We will list them alphabetically so as not to put anyone in “first place” because in our book, these are all blue-ribbon people.

Barb Hanrahan/Vendor Chair and her sub-chairs, Bobbi Scherer, Linda Gruhn and Julia Soenksen.  What a great job from beginning to end and that includes cleanup, Barb.

Randy Meier with sub-chairs, Randy Peterson who set up the website and Rick Mojeiko the website guru who kept all riders up to date on what was happening in Clinton both the weekend before RAGBRAI and on the weekend of the event, Dan Howard, who set up the Bike Rodeo for the kids as part of the RIDE RIGHT portion of RAGBRAI and Joe Raaymakers who was more than a sub chair but really the main spokesperson for the whole event informing all facets of the community about what was going to be going on with the event.

Sue Raaymakers and her sub chairs, Francie Hill-Rathje and Makenna Yoerger who were top- notch publicity people.  There was something in the newspaper everyday and they kept in constant touch with the television and radio stations with interviews both live and on the air.  The signage was this committee’s duty  and they did a great job with Burma-Shave signs out on the highway, to give the riders encouragement as they came into town, and also the 30-foot greeting sign on the 19th St. NW boulevard where the riders could stop and have a picture taken.  Cathy Crosser and her team, the wonder women of decorating and fund raising parties.  The dip site was awesome with red, white and blue bicycles.  

Captain Jim Klaes and the police department did a superb job of laying out the route for the riders and keeping everyone safe, both riders and residents, the day of the event.

Volunteers would not have existed without the direction of Pastor Ron Lott who called and lined up a great crew.  The day of the event you could hear his voice and that of Les Shields together with Chance Kness and the Emergency Management Team keeping us all in line and letting volunteers and workers know where team buses were located as well as where the shuttles and buses for volunteers and long term parking were located.

Many volunteers cannot be mentioned here by name because we are still putting all that together but there were people taking pictures at the dip site, people shuttling, running errands, information booth workers, all too numerous to list but they will all be thanked.

However, we would be remiss if we did not mention the greatest bunch of volunteers from the Evangelical Free Church.  On Sunday morning, just as a few of us thought we would be the only clean- up crew, the whole church came out in full force and began to pick up and clean up.  What a job they did and words cannot explain how they just dug in and got it done.  This group needs so much more recognition than can truly be given.  What a great community-minded group.  They have been doing a lot of community projects in the Gateway area and they mentioned this was their last one for now.  What a finale!!

Tom Krogman and his Streets & Parks team —what a blessing.  Everything from weed cutting to painting the light poles a beautiful blue to match the rest of Riverview Drive.  They always fulfilled all the requests the committee threw at them.   When the riders arrived, our city looked clean as a whistle for them.  And then after the event, they had to start all over again picking up the gathered trash bags and getting it all into the huge Dumpsters.

To the YWCA, city swimming pool and the Marina/Candlelight for the use of their showers and Ashford University/Durgin Center for housing and showers.

To all of the businesses who donated their products to us and they are, again, too numerous to mention in this letter for fear we would leave anyone out at this time, but we will note all of them at a later date.

And not just those businesses that donated but those that were at our beck and call to get us what we needed, when we needed it.  A big thank you.

Once again, RAGBRAI has come and gone and put Clinton on the map.  We talked to a lot of people and they were all thrilled with Clinton.  It was easy for them to get around in our city and our hospitality was always mentioned.  We not only hosted them on Saturday the 28th but also the weekend before as they prepared for their takeoff to Sioux Center for the beginning of the ride, and on both weekends we heard nothing but positive things about Clinton and our residents.   And so, for that, we thank all of you who volunteered, welcomed people into your homes, had parties in your yards and greeted the bikers as they came down our streets.  

You can all give yourselves a big pat on the back for your efforts.  Many kudos to all of you.

Marsha Smith is the director of the Clinton Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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