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Fifty-one years of sustained success

If it’s the first week of April in the Valley, we are very much into Hike/Bike/Run season. Between now and Hike/Bike/Run Day on Saturday, May 5, there will be a number of events relating to the annual fundraiser for Valley Haven School.

LaFayette Day will be taking place on Saturday, April 14. and the annual auction on Friday, April 27. Supporters of Valley Haven School have obviously done something right to have had a fundraiser sustain this kind of success for as long as it has.

Valley Haven School goes back to 1959 and the Hike/Bike/Run to 1977. We’re talking about an annual fundraiser for a modest-sized community that goes back for more than a half century and shows no signs of losing community support. And that’s a good thing.

It’s critical to have local matching money to be able to get the state and federal grants that are vitally needed to keep a school like Valley Haven with the funds it needs to remain a top-flight school for children with developmental delays and adults with learning disabilities.

For more than 30 years now, our local area has raised over $100,000 each year though the Hike/Bike/Run. That’s something we should be proud of and something we should keep going.

Valley Haven School has been well led over the course of the Hike/Bike/Run. Tony Edmondson had superb skills in marshaling public support behind a cause. Craig Brown, the current executive director, has picked up where he left off and is building on the momentum that’s been established over the past 51 years.

The clients are Valley Haven’s best selling point. You can’t help but marvel at the social skills they learn. When one visits the school, a student will invariably approach you, smile, extend their hand for a handshake and ask, “How are you today, sir?”

It makes you feel good all over.

People like Ed Ramsey, Jarret Clark, Andrea Maddux, Andy Price, Jeffrey Westfall, Tawonna Willis, Jeff Pitts, Will Bailey and Debra “Weather Girl” Davis are among the best friends you can ever have.

If you’re having a bad day and you visit the school see the smiling faces, shake or fist bump a hand, you can’t help but say “Great!” when they ask you how you are.

The Hike/Bike/Run is something we do that identifies what our community is all about. It’s a combination of Caring and Sharing and Strength Woven In.

The continuing success of the Hike/Bike/Run says a lot about Valley people. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we won’t lose sight of what really matters. Supporting Valley Haven School is a powerful way of saying that everyone matters, that “the least of these,” as Christ once put it, is just as important as the most prominent people in town.