Walking (biking & skating) for the good of the shelter

COPPER HARBOR – In 2005, Donica Dravillas saw a need to provide financial support for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home so she created an event, which over the years has grown significantly.

Dravillas, who is the founder of the Keweenaw Path Fundraiser, said the first year, she was the only participant. She combined walking and snowshoeing from Copper Harbor along the Lake Superior shore, ending in Calumet.

“It was a strong case of spring fever,” she said.

Dravillas said she did the first walk over two days. She stayed at the Eagle Harbor Inn at one point. For the effort, she raised about $700 for the BKG Shelter Home, which provides shelter for abused women and their children.

The next year, Dravillas said she was joined on the walk by a friend. In subsequent years, people who ran and bicycled asked if they could take part, so they were added to the event. This year, people on four wheels are taking part, also.

“We’ve added a roller skating leg,” she said.

Some of those roller skaters will be the Keweenaw Roller Girls roller derby club, Dravillas said.

Dravillas said all participants will leave at 10 a.m. May 18. Bicyclists taking part in the event will leave from the Michigan Technological University Memorial Union Building. Runners will leave from the Phoenix Store in Phoenix, and walkers and roller skaters will leave from the Pines Resort in Copper Harbor. All participants will end at the Eagle Harbor community building.

Dravillas said various police agencies will provide an escort along some of the routes. Police are an important part of fighting domestic abuse.

“It’s kind of like a team going down the road,” she said.

The cost to participate in the Keweenaw Path Fundraiser is $20, Dravillas said. That includes a spaghetti and meatballs dinner and a participant’s T-shirt.

Dravillas said from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Pines Resort, there will be a buffet breakfast as part of the event. The cost is $8.

It’s expected participants will start arriving at the Eagle Harbor community building at about 3 p.m., Dravillas said. For those not participating in the fundraiser, the cost for spaghetti and meatballs dinner is $10 if purchased before the event at the Gas Lite General Store in Copper Harbor. The cost is $15 at the door.

After the dinner, Dravillas said there will be music and a a silent auction.

“Almost every business in Copper Harbor donates an item or gift certificates,” she said.

Dravillas said the most money raised by the Keweenaw Path Fundraiser was about $7,000 in 2012. It’s hoped that can be surpassed this year. For information about the event, call 289-4919.