Two people from Decorah--Andy Carlson and Barrett Gipp—are planning to walk across all of Winneshiek County later this month.
"Walk Across Winneshiek" is being planned for Saturday, August 26th, as part of efforts to raise $10,000 for a Decorah High School Class of 1998 Endowed Scholarship, which will be distributed through the Decorah Community School District Foundation. They have raised close to $3,000 so far.
The Decorah High School alumni are hoping to meet the goal in time for their 20-year reunion in 2018, which would endow a $500 scholarship for a college-bound Decorah High School graduate every year. The 1998 class will be the youngest class to offer an endowed scholarship.
Carlson and Gipp grew up in Decorah, having met each other in preschool. The two remained friends throughout their childhood as they attended church at First Lutheran and graduated from Decorah High School. They have both moved back to Decorah to raise their families who are close friends.
"Since we've moved back to Decorah, we've tried to get involved in the community in different ways and now that we are parents of young kids, we know our kids are going to be going through the school system and they and others could be recipients of these scholarships someday," remarked Gipp.
"It's nice to set a precedent for other classes to maybe do something similar, and we think our grade is awesome," said Carlson. "We've had a lot of support from classmates. It's a small way to honor classmates who have passed, it's a way to keep their memory alive, and recognize them."
The plan is to start at the Howard County line and follow highway 9 to the Allamakee County line which is 28.6 miles. They will begin walking at the Prairie Farmer Trail at 7:00 a.m. Carlson and Gipp plan to do a few facebook live posts during the walk. They think they should be finished that evening and have a tentative gathering planned at 6:00 p.m at Pulpit Rock Brewery, if anyone would like to bring a donation at that time.
Any "training" Carlson and Gipp have done is by going for walks with their children, pushing strollers around town, some of those being the hilly roads in Decorah.
"We want to give back and make Decorah as good as we can. Decorah is already awesome, so it's not too hard to do that. We'd like to maintain that," said Carlson.
Anyone interested in donating may do so at https://www.crowdrise.com/dhsclassof98endowedscholarship/fundraiser/ or by check in person to either Carlson or Gipp.
"We are hoping to ignite the giving spirit, as philanthropy knows no age," Gipp said.