Montpelier-Based Creek Run Grows Fundraising Event

We are currently featured in Fueling Indiana, Winter 2018, pg 19. The original article can be downloaded here.

Montpelier-Based Creek Run Grows Fundraising Event

What started as a small company cookout has been transformed by Montpelier, Indiana based Creek Run L.L.C. into a successful fundraising event to help a worthy cause and remember a former colleague.

This environmental engineering firm and IPCA President’s Council member has hosted the James Peterson Memorial Fish Fry and Cornhole Tourna­ment for the past 11 years. The money raised supports the Friends of the Limberlost (FLL), a nonprofit group promoting the Limberlost Cabin State Historic Site. FLL assists the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Division of Indiana State Museum and State Historic Sites in operating the site, and works to develop and restore wetlands by assisting and cooperating with the IDNR Division of Nature Preserves.

Initially, the event was held only for Creek Run’s half-dozen employees and lasted an hour. Instead of raising money, canned goods were collected to donate to a local food bank.  Now, the company hosts its 45 staffers and about 100 invited guests, who are staff family members, clients, subcontractors and community friends, at what has become an all-day event. Tournament activities begin with a fish fry. The fun continues with a 5K walk/run on Creek Run’s Stewardship Trail in the woods next to the company office (including a 1-mile kids’ race), a motorcycle/car cruise-in, a nature scavenger hunt, a golf chipping game, a silent auction, a sports memorabilia raffle, a bounce house and the cornhole tournament. New activities are added each year.

When Creek Run’s co-founder James Peterson died in 2012, the event was renamed in his honor and devoted to helping FLL because it was a cause he cared about, explained CEO Dr. Jason Lenz. “We felt donating to FLL was the best way to help them acquire more property and do more wetlands restoration,” he said. An educational component and highlight of the event is a visit by FLL naturalist Curt Bur­nett, who discusses FLL’s activities and brings animals from the site to show the children.

 

Funds Raised Increase Annually The 2017 tournament was held on August 4 and raised a record $7,592. That’s a big jump from the $4,838 collected the prior year. Funds raised come from donations and from entries in the cruise-in, which started in 2016 and for which participants pay $5 per wheel. “People vote to decide which vehicles win the cruise-in, with separate winners for cars and motorcycles,” Lenz said. “This year, a bicycle won   the vote as best motorcycle.” Other contributions are from sales in the auction (another 2016 addition), the raffle and this year’s new cakewalk, with its tasty homemade baked goods.

The fish fry owes its success to long­ time employee Mike Zimmerman, who has been involved since the beginning. An avid outdoorsman and fisherman, as are his wife and his dad, he fishes every weekend in spring and fall, stor­ing his catch in the freezer. While he does all the catching and cleaning, on the big day, Mike prepares the fish aid­ed by helpers for cooking and serving. The company covers the cost of sup­plies and pays for his services.

Much time is spent planning prior to the tournament by Creek Run employees, who make sure everything goes well. “Without the help and support of our staff, this event wouldn’t be possible,” Lenz said. “The tournament is a fitting tribute to Jim, who was my dear friend and colleague for 30 years. We’re just the organizers. We’re giving people an avenue to come and donate however much they want to FLL, from a few dollars to $500. It’s a great way to have fun with our staff and friends while doing good for the environment.”