by Cori Hilsgen
The ninth annual Lake Wobegon Regional Trail Ride will take place Saturday, Sept. 13. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. in St. Joseph, 10 a.m. in Avon, 11 a.m. in Melrose and ends at the Sauk Centre Fairgrounds.
This is a family-fun event that benefits the Catholic Charities St. Cloud Children’s Home, a residential treatment home for youth at-risk, ages 8-18. It is not a competitive race.
The St. Cloud Children’s Home program helps at-risk children by offering individual and family counseling, teaching coping skills during critical adolescent years and offering other resources. Many children served have experienced family, school and other abuses and failures in their lives.
Volunteer organizer Chuck Rieland has helped plan the trail ride the past nine years. He has a goal to raise $ million and has helped raise almost $600,000 during the past eight years.
This year’s goal is to raise $125,000, with $60,000 of that going toward a new residential cottage for children with special mental-health needs that require intensive treatment. The current facility, built in 1924, no longer meets the needs of those children.
Rieland, vice president and financial advisor of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Wayzata, organized the ride after the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
At the time, Morgan Stanley had employees officed on 45 floors in the World Trade Center. When the first plane struck the building, their security people, of whom lost their lives, ordered everyone out of the south tower at the same time. They had 18 minutes to evacuate. By the time the second plane hit the south tower, their training center and employees had evacuated.
“I have worked for Morgan Stanley for 29 years in Minnesota, and although this tragedy happened nearly 13 years ago, the trauma lingers,” Rieland said in an email.
The attacks had such a profound effect on Rieland he sought a positive outcome after the Sept. 11 tragedy. After he and his wife, Lucy, visited the St. Cloud Children’s Home and said they felt the staff was doing an “amazing” job despite a shortage of funding, Rieland organized the first trail ride. He has made the ride an annual tradition for his family, as well as Morgan Stanley employees and its foundation.
Rieland said support from sponsors is critical as funding for children’s mental-health services decreases and shifts to private insurance. As the number of youth in need grows, it becomes more of a challenge to find other ways to fund the necessary services for families who do not have adequate insurance.
Other beneficiaries of the trail ride include local faith communities, which will determine how money they receive can best help needs in their immediate area.
“We are very thankful for the volunteers who donate their time, skills and the materials needed, which will allow proceeds from the ride to be allocated to these beneficiaries,” Rieland said.
For registration information, visit ccstcloud.org/wobegonride.