by Nathan Warner
Surpassing expectations, more than 500 runners braved the rain Saturday morning to run in the third annual Bubba-Baseball 5K Run. The run came close on the heels of Easter Sunday’s tragedy at the Shields house in Zimmerman, where it is believed Stephanie Shields drowned her two children, Nolan, 7, and Josephine, 6, before committing suicide.
The case rocked the community, leaving many asking why someone would feel so hopeless that they felt they couldn’t ask anyone for help. The Run’s theme of new life, healing and bringing the community together was never so pertinent since it was founded three years ago to honor the memory of Glen Bye who was killed in a tragic car accident.
Coming to grips with the Shields tragedy has been difficult for Zimmerman residents, and LeAnne Bye, Founder of the Glen Bye Foundation, wanted to do something to aid the healing for the Shields family and the community.
“We wanted to at least help cover some of Mark Shield’s funeral expenses,” LeAnne Bye said, “and we hoped to do much more than that.”
That hope became reality Saturday when the community poured out ahead of the rain to donate to the Shield’s family, giving more than $500 dollars. The Glen Bye Foundation matched those funds to reach their goal of $1,000.
“People were very generous, and we can’t thank them enough for helping those distraught by this tragedy,” LeAnne Bye said.
As participants congregated around the podium, LeAnne Bye offered a prayer for Mark Shields, his family and Stephanie’s family. Afterwards, the crowd released nearly 500 bright, colorful balloons that rose swiftly against the damp, dark sky as a symbol of hope and remembrance for Stephanie, Nolan and Josephine Shields.
At the signal, runners surged from the starting line and as they dashed against the rain, the clouds cleared and the sun peeked out.
First to make it around the circuit was Tyler Lorden who won the men’s division, completing the course in 18:35. Women’s division co-winners Chelsea Schlegel and Ali Manthey pulled through together at 21:15. For runners under 13 years old, Todd Garcia made them proud with his 27:06 arrival.
LeAnne Bye said she was very grateful for all the volunteers and donors that made the race possible.
“Without them, we could not continue making this a success,” she said, adding that she is thankful that Zimmerman and the surrounding communities continue keeping her son Glen’s life and legacy alive by helping the those in need.
Donations to the Glen Bye Foundation make it possible for them to offer help to those who need it most, including Zimmerman High School student scholarships and awards every year.
They accept donations year round and now hold an annual Charity Gala. The next Gala is in October and raises money to help people struggling with grief and life difficulties through the Spark of Life Foundation.
“We brought the Spark of Life Foundation to Minnesota as an opportunity for help and healing to people in our communities who are struggling with grief or the circumstances of their lives,” LeAnne said. “We want to let people know they’re not alone when they feel they’re at the end of their rope.”
For more information on the Glen Bye Foundation, the Annual 5K Run or the gala, visit www.glenbyefoundation.org.