Keweenaw Path raises $8,000 for Gundlach Shelter

EAGLE HARBOR – When Donica Dravillas started the Keweenaw Path fundraiser in 2005, it was just her, walking and snowshoeing from Copper Harbor to Calumet.

But the fundraiser for the Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home has kept growing over the years. On May 18, Dravillas and others raised $8,062 so far for the shelter with its fundraiser, which finished at the Eagle Harbor Community Building. Additional money has been pledged but not yet come in, said Mary Niemela, outreach advocate for the shelter.

In 10 years, Keweenaw Path has raised more than $25,000. Dravillas said the walk is a way to show that abuse isn’t accepted in the community.

“I think it’s a very worthy cause to celebrate,” Dravillas said Thursday. “I chose this because it’s something I, in my community, can directly affect.”

Groups walked to the Eagle Harbor Community Building from the Pines Resort in Copper Harbor, or roller-skated; ran from Phoenix; and biked from the Memorial Union Building.

“Every year, more people have joined it,” Dravillas said. “And this year we had the Keweenaw Roller Girls, which was really wonderful to have.”

The participants and more came to a spaghetti dinner at the community building, which included an auction and live music from Ron Lahti, Sycamore Smith and JJ Plichta. Next year’s event will be held on May 17.

Niemela said money from the fundraiser goes into the shelter’s operational fund. She said this year’s proceeds will be put towards fixing the shelter’s roof, which recently developed problems. Some money will also come from a Keweenaw Heritage Grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

“That wasn’t the intention, but everything has to go into the general operation of the shelter, whether it’s providing services or keeping the home running,” she said.