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Some Fun Run money to aid Wayne Klumper and family

Wayne Klumper is shown in his Worthington Area YMCA office in 2009, the year he retired from 32 years as program director. Some of the proceeds from this year's Fun Run will be used to help offset expenses as Klumper recovers from a serious motorcycle accident.

WORTHINGTON -- For 32 years, Wayne Klumper brought families together as program director of the Worthington Area YMCA. Now, as Klumper works toward a lengthy recovery from a serious June 25 motorcycle accident, his many friends are rushing to his aid.

A portion of money earned from the YMCA Fun Run, which Klumper helped create 31 years ago, will be used to help Klumper and his family with expenses as he recovers. Persons who pay the $23 sign-up fee for the July 31 event ($25 for non-members) will see $10 of it set aside.

The YMCA is also taking donations for the family. Checks may be made payable to the "Y for Wayne Klumper Fund."

Andy Johnson, executive director/CEO of the Worthington Area YMCA, said that Klumper's friends thought it fitting that the Fun Run be used to give something back to a man who has given so much to the community.

Still a Y member and enthusiastic volunteer since his retirement, Klumper, said Johnson, "had a large impact on lots of different families." Only a month ago, Johnson said, Klumper helped produce a video to help the "Strong Kids" scholarship campaign.

"Wayne certainly isn't one to say no to too many things. He might say no in the beginning, and then it will quickly change to a yes," said Johnson. "All it takes is to see that kid's face who has a need. He's one of the strongest family men who has dedicated himself to his own family, but also dedicated himself to the community -- not just the Y.

"Just a great guy," said Johnson.

Klumper received multiple injuries on the afternoon of June 25 when the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car at the intersection of North Crailsheim Drive and Fox Farm Road. He was taken to the emergency room at Sanford Worthington Medical Center, then transferred to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. After a CT scan and examination, he was found to have sustained a bruised lung, broken ribs, severely swollen eye, fractured facial bones, road rash burns, bleeding in his brain and possibly a broken pelvis.

Klumper was sedated and placed on strong pain medication. His family --including his wife, Dea, and his children Dan, Tresse and Joe --have maintained a constant vigil as husband and father continues what will be a long climb back to health.

Tom Navara, who was a member of the program committee when the Fun Run was introduced, said the event was originally set up as a less competitive alternative to the Turkey Day 10K. It was established to be a half-mile, mile and five-kilometer event from the beginning, and an important part of the plan was to get kids involved, along with their families.

"Wayne and I measured the court, and we picked a day and just started doing it," Navara said. "I think it's done quite well. Numbers-wise, it's been pretty close to the same every year. It hasn't fallen off."

The family aspect, said longtime volunteer Julie Haas, has always been at the forefront. There are no medals awarded, but youths are given participation ribbons. And everybody gets a T-shirt.

"We have the same people who come back year after year. It's gotten to be a family affair. And all the little kids put on the T-shirt to run the race. And for half of them, the T-shirts are down to their knees," Haas said.

Friends may also show their support by purchasing a "He Heals" T-shirt, which can be ordered through the YMCA. Supply is limited, but the family has encouraged anyone buying the shirt to take a photo of themselves wearing the shirt for uploading to the photo album at the Caring Bridge online site ( Family and friends use the site to share encouraging posts.

Joe Klumper, who is finishing his third year of teaching at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls, says the family feels fortunate, at this time, to live in the Sioux Falls area. Dan and his family live in Brandon, S.D., and Tresse and her family live in Sioux Falls.

Upon learning of the Fun Run initiative, Joe thanked the community on behalf of his father and his family.

"When he wakes up, we're going to tell him about all the things that these nice people have done. Probably, the first thing he'll do is smile. And then, maybe, tear up."

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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