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Edgerton vet’s run aids hospital memorial

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
July 29, 2010
— When Edgerton resident Fred Falk said he’d raise $20,000 to pay for a veterans memorial at Edgerton’s new hospital, all it took was a promise and a pair of combat boots.

In June, Falk, vice chairman of the Edgerton Hospital Capital Foundation, announced he’d run a mile in combat boots if donors pledged $20,000 to put a local veterans memorial in the lobby of Edgerton’s new hospital.


Donations surpassed the goal, and on July 17, Falk, 61, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col., found himself on the starting line at the Rotary Run at Edgerton’s Tobacco Heritage Days. True to his word, Falk ran a mile in boots and military attire, complete with a rucksack and a crew cut.


The run helped raise $20,060 for the memorial, Falk said. Donations ranged from $5 to $5,000.


“(With fundraising) you have no way of gauging what ideas will work, and twenty thousand in the best of times is a lot to raise. In this economy, it’s really extraordinary that we did it,” Falk said.


The memorial is linked to a capital campaign for the new hospital, which is under construction at Highway 59 on Edgerton’s east end.


Falk got the idea for the run from his family lineage, which includes local military veterans and area doctors.


The largest contribution for the memorial came from an Edgerton couple whose fathers were military veterans, Falk said. The couple said in a note they were inspired by news reports about Falk and his family’s military background and his plans to run in combat boots.


“They thought the idea was pretty extraordinary,” he said.


Plans for the memorial aren’t complete, but Falk said it will be put in the hospital’s lobby area. It will include a plaque dedicated to all military veterans in the area as well as a picture collection on display at Edgerton’s existing hospital of local soldiers killed in World War I and World War II.


Falk said his efforts have drawn gratitude from local veterans and non-veterans alike.


“It’s been gratifying and humbling. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget,” he said.



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