Faribault Big Hearts Ring True Again

The IRIS (Infants Remembered in Silence) Turkey Trot and Community Thanksgiving Dinner made me understand the great community we have in Faribault.

This is the main reason why I have lived here for almost 35 years. Faribault is filled with big hearts.

Townsquare Media from Faribault (KDHL / POWER 96) and Owatonna (KRFO / KAT Kountry 105) presented the Turkey Trot event along with a number of other great sponsors.

Thanksgiving dinner changed locations but that didn’t seem to put the brakes on anything. I used to help peel the potatoes as I have done for many years. There were a lot of people boning turkeys, filling little cups with cranberries and butter. Empty boxes of vegetables into large bins to prepare for cooking at the Faribault Eagles Club.

Both events were affected (like pretty much everything else) by COVID last year. The Turkey Trot was virtual and there was no community Thanksgiving dinner.

It was around 10 degrees Fahrenheit when we started the Tot Trot and Gobble Wobble. Frank Parrish did a great job singing the national anthem and Pastor Susan kicked off the runners with a wonderful Thanksgiving morning prayer.

Then, the IRIS board of directors had a big surprise. Hans Fuchs did the honor to announce that the board of directors was going to burn the mortgage of the IRIS house in a trash can across the street.

This is the 13th year of the IRIS Turkey Trot. In seven years, they were able to pay off the mortgage.

Fuchs told me later that it was great to accomplish this and that everyone at the Thanksgiving event made it possible.

IRIS founder Diana Kelley, Fuchs and other board members were joined by people in the small container used to burn a copy of the mortgage papers.

IRIS Mortgage House Fire. Photo provided by IRIS

Over 1,300 people have registered to participate in IRIS Turkey Trot events.

I was honored to do my small part in the important fundraising event for such a large organization.

My take on Han Fuchs making an announcement. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

IRIS was founded in 1987 the same year I arrived in Faribault.

My view of the inside of Fette Electronics announcing the trailer just before the national anthem. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

IRIS provides 100% free services to people who live, give birth or return home to bury a child in a service area of ​​six counties, including Dodge, Goodhue, LeSueur, Steele, Waseca and Rice counties.

In 2020, IRIS provided approximately 750 bereavement support kits to grieving parents in the service area.

In 2021, IRIS has already distributed more than 500 bereavement assistance packages.

In 2020, the IRIS website recorded more than 445,000 visits from 212 countries around the world, translated into 186 languages.

This year, the IRIS website received more than 580,000 visits from 223 countries, translated into 235 languages.

IRIS services include:

  • Bereavement support packages
  • Funeral clothing set, available in 9 sizes and suitable for infants 10 to 40 weeks gestation
  • IRIS Advocate (volunteer who comes to the hospital and / or funeral home to help parents by answering questions, helping to create memories such as pictures, sculptures, hands and footprints, etc.
  • Quarterly newsletters
  • Common burial
  • Support groups (noon and evening)
  • Individual assistance
  • Lending library
  • Website
  • Commemorative quilts
  • Volunteer opportunities

Other IRIS events include:

  • Pancake lunch with silent auction, bingo and bake sale scheduled for February 13, 2022 (I usually call BINGO and we have a lot of fun)
  • Joint funeral services take place twice a year
  • The 28th Annual Holiday Remembrance Service is December 5, 2021 in Shattuck
  • The Little Black Dress event is scheduled for March 12, 2022 at the Owatonna Country Club
  • Heaven’s Angels Motorcycle Run will take place on August 6, 2022 at Faribault Harley Davidson
  • 14th Annual IRIS Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022
IRIS tables ready for runners at Faribault Middle School gymnasium. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

Here are some statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to give you an idea of ​​how many people can use their services.

  • 200 out of 1,000 “known pregnancies” end in early pregnancy (miscarriage), which represents approximately 250,000 women who miscarry each year in the United States.
  • 40-50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (miscarriage)
  • 900,000 miscarriages each year
  • 17 in 1,000 pregnancies end in ectopic pregnancy
  • 28,384 infants (500 to 2,500 grams or 1 to 5 pounds) die each year in the United States
  • 16,015 baby boys born after 20 weeks die each year
  • 12,368 girls born after 20 weeks die each year
  • 28,383 stillborn babies each year in the United States
  • 4 million stillbirths occur each year worldwide
  • 10 in every 1,000 births are stillborn in the United States each year
  • 9,343 post-neonatal deaths occur each year (aged 28 days to one year)
  • 18,593 neonatal deaths each year (less than 28 days)
  • 27,936 infant deaths from birth to 12 months
  • 233 infants out of 1,000 live births die before the age of one year from premature birth, birth defects, disease.
  • 28,000 infants die from premature births each year
  • 4,600 unexpected infant deaths each year (SIDS-Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • 200 unexpected deaths of children aged 1 to 4 each year (SUDC – Sudden Unexplained Child Death)
  • 24,000 children die in their first year of life
  • 1,500 children die each year from SIDS / SUID
  • 1,200 children die of unknown causes
  • 900 children die of accidental suffocation
  • 1 in 4 women will experience a baby loss

Infant mortality is one of the most important indicators of a nation’s health as it is associated with a variety of factors such as maternal health, quality and access to health care, socio-economic conditions , public health practices.

Calm forward IRIS Turkey Trot inside Faribault Middle School gymnasium. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

The other major sponsors of the 13th IRIS Turkey Trot were:

Diamond Sponsor

Platinum Sponsors

  • Blue shield of the blue cross
  • Carrefour Professional Group
  • Dr Ashley Thorson
  • Gopher Sport
  • First Faribault Bank
  • Z-Techs

Gold Sponsors

  • Boldt Funeral Home
  • Channel Inn Warsaw
  • Faribault Foods
  • Faribault Rent N ‘Save
  • Fette Productions
  • Poly Pak plastics

When I finished my assignments at Faribault Middle School, I realized I could still help with the delivery of Thanksgiving meals for those who requested it.

Organizers have asked those delivering meals to line up with their vehicles in the back parking lot of the Eagles Club.

For the past few years, you would leave your vehicle and go inside the American Legion for meals. Dozens of people would line up. With COVID, the vehicles outside didn’t have all of these people in the same area inside.

Faribault Fire Chief Dustin Dienst and Faribault Police Sgt. Matt Knutson brought meals to vehicles with vouchers including information on meal delivery.

I made three trips. When I got back I asked if I could have a take out meal which they answered, of course, which saved me some time to cook. That was delicious.

Wednesday night, I took some pictures of the construction work at the Faribault Eagles Club.

Vern Steffens peeling potatoes. Our tub is overflowing. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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