By KEN KEFFER
PERRY, Iowa, Aug. 9, 2018 – As now Tate Boyd recently celebrated his "half birthday" -- at 10.5 years -- one thing was conspicuously missing. There were plenty of friends to share in the fun, and lots of cake to go around, but there weren’t many gifts to unwrap. Instead of presents, the Urbandale boy requested donations for a local cause of his choosing. Tate is an enthusiastic bike rider, so he donated his birthday haul to the "connector" trail, whih is being constructed now to link the Raccoon River Valley Trail in Perry and the High Trestle Trail in Woodward.
Tate celebrated with a joint birthday party and his sisters Maggie and Lili. The birthday boy said that his family already has everything they need, so instead of gifts they now give donations. Family members have made celebratory contributions to hospitals and animal rescue organizations throughout central Iowa.
All three children agreed that this was the best birthday ever,according to their mother Beth Ann Boyd. "They got just as much joy out of collecting money for charity," she said.
Mike Wallace accepting the generous “birthday gift” from Tate Boyd and his sisters Maggie and Lili.
Tate, along with his family, recently made the trek to the Dallas County Conservation Board offices at the Forest Park Museum, to deliver a $350 check to irector Mike Wallace. After handing over the contribution, the soon-to-be fifth grader said that someday he’d really like to ride his bike from the museum all the way to the High Trestle Trail.
“The $350 contribution is a sizable gift for anyone,” said Wallace, “but we were especially impressed by the thoughtfulness of this gesture.”
Wallace came up with an idea "how can we enhance his generosity even more. So, let’s leverage Tate’s donation. The challenge to trail supporters is to see how many matching $350 gifts for the connector project can be made by the end of August. It would be great to turn Tate’s $350 gift into thousands more.”
The RRVT and the High Trestle Trail are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems, and the new 9-mile connector trail segment is expected to be a busy link between them. The paved paths are popular with bicycle riders and also provides recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers, and skaters. The first phase of this $5-million project is already underway as crews are constructing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working east.
Concrete being poured on Aug. 3 on the new “connector trail,” going east from Perry.
If you’d like to match Tate Boyd’s gift, or make a birthday contribution of your own, contact the Dallas County Conservation Board at (515) 465-3577 or visit online at www.dallascountyiowa.gov/conservation or www.letsconnectdallascounty.com.
Ken Keffer, who wrote this story, is the outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Conservation Board. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.