Under bright blue skies, more than 250 people joined the Visiting Nurse Association of NWI at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso on Sunday, May 7th, to walk in memory of loved ones at the 16th annual VNA Stroll for Hospice.
Prior to the kickoff of the walk, VNA President and CEO Ann O’Heir welcomed the crowd. “Thanks to the generosity of so many, the VNA remains a vital support system in our community, providing hospice care and services such as VNA Meals on Wheels and grief support for children at the VNA Phoenix Center.” O’Heir also invited veterans to the front of the crowd to be honored for their service and lead the stroll.
Families joined together as teams, competing for the top prizes by raising pledges to support their stroll. Each winning team and individual received a commemorative Stroll for Hospice brick in appreciation of their efforts. This year, Team CSI rounded up the most sponsors of their walk and the Jack Johns Team raised the highest amount in sponsorships. Individuals receiving awards were Carol Koss, who raised the most money in memory of her husband Bill Koss, who was a VNA Hospice Volunteer, and Bill Beck, a longtime VNA Hospice Volunteer. This year’s largest team was Team Rick and Buzz, with 26 team members.
All those who collected pledges in support of their walk were entered in a drawing to be named the 2018 VNA Stroll for Hospice Grand Marshal and Denise McDermott was selected to lead the walkers next year.
Along the first leg of the route, strollers were greeted with the famous pretzel bites from Bens’ Pretzels and mini burgers from Pikk’s Tavern. And, all along the route, strollers were able to see signs in memory of loved ones. Following the walk, strollers gathered for a picnic lunch, followed by Culver’s Custard, donated by Culver’s of Valparaiso. In addition, there were lots of family friendly activities, including a bounce house, face painting, games, and even a DJ to keep things hopping.
Special thanks to the VNA Stroll for Hospice top sponsors: Nipsco, Porter Regional Hospital, LaPorte Hospital, Golden Tech, Crown Counseling, and CrossCountry Mortgage.