Posts made in June, 2016

25 more days…

For the past two weeks, the best part of my day has been checking the mailbox when I get home from work. I love seeing all the return envelopes with checks inside made out to the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. Every now and then, someone includes a little note of encouragement, which I especially love.

We’ve received checks from family, friends, neighbors, members of our church, and even complete strangers. So far, Jordan and I are about halfway to our $5,000 goal, and that doesn’t even include any online donations (still waiting to hear back on that total).

I have just two words… thank you!!

When I agreed to take part in this year’s Wilderness Trek for JWRC, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. My family helped me stuff, stamp, and seal the envelopes, then I dropped them off at the Post Office and hoped for the best.

What a response! It’s so heartening to see how many people still care so very deeply about Jacob and his family. While we wait for answers, this is the one thing we can all do that will actually make a difference.

The Jacob Wetterling Resource Center focuses on prevention by teaching kids to be smart when it comes to their personal safety. They discuss the importance of checking first with parents or caregivers before going somewhere with another person, accepting gifts, or allowing someone to photograph them. While this may seem obvious to us as parents, it’s not obvious to kids, especially when the person is known to the child.

Equally important, JWRC teaches kids to hang out in groups, trust their instincts, and never keep secrets from their parents. The internet poses a particular threat, and parents play a pivotal role in understanding the traps and pitfalls that their children face online. JWRC provides this training, as well.

Clearly, the world is a safer place because of the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, and I’m happy to support the cause.

Now, I just need to get in shape.

IMG_0616I have begun breaking in my new hiking shoes that my family gave me for Mother’s Day, and I joined the FitBit Challenge at work, trying to average at least 10,000 steps a day. My plan was to go on a 15 mile bike ride at least twice a week, but so far that hasn’t happened. I also had high hopes of making it through the Couch to 5K app before we leave, but I think it’s fair to say that isn’t going to happen either. Between graduation parties, weddings, showers, birthday parties, and work-related events, I dare say this may be as good as it gets. I guess I’ll just pack lots of Advil.

Now then, back to the discussion of bears. I have been given a great deal of sage advice since my last blog post. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned.

  • There are no bears in Colorado.
  • It’s not the bears you need to worry about, it’s the mountain lions.
  • It’s not the bears you need to worry about, it’s the rattlesnakes.
  • A bear can outrun a racehorse.
  • Bear spray is much more effective than a firearm, but make sure you don’t spray it into the wind (spoken from experience).
  • Don’t go to bed smelling like bacon. Bears really like bacon.
  • If you encounter a bear, make a lot of noise, raise your arms, and try to appear bigger than the bear.
  • If you encounter a bear, do not make a lot of noise, retreat quietly, and never, under any circumstances, try to appear bigger than the bear.

My son Jordan has also tried to convince me that sleeping in a hammock tied between two trees is much more comfortable than sleeping in a tent. My question to him was, how does a bear know the difference between food hanging from a tree and a human hanging from a tree? Seems to me the bear is a winner either way.

And so, you can see I am still all sorts of confused when it comes to a potential bear encounter. I think I will just stop asking for advice and assume that the rest of the Trekkers have a far better handle on this subject than me.

I’d like to give a special shout out to Jerry Wetterling on this Father’s Day to thank him for coordinating 23 of these annual Wilderness Treks to help raise money for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. I cannot think of a better way to honor his son.

If you’d like to support this year’s Wilderness Trek, please make your donation by July 7th.

To donate online, go to https://foundation.gundersenhealth.org/protectkids. Under “Designation,” please choose “Trek Donation – Jacob Wetterling Resource Center,” and in the box that says “Special notes about this gift,” please add “Joy and Jordan.”

Checks can be made out to JWRC with TREK in the memo line. Mail to 16162 Golfview Rd NE, New London, MN 56273. If you’d like to receive a receipt, just let me know and I will get one to you. All donations to JWRC are 100% tax deductible.

Thank you!!

NEXT: Joetown…

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Trek 2016. Let’s do this thing.

I apologize for my lapse in posts lately. Ever since Danny Heinrich was arrested last October 29th, there have been countless times I’ve wanted to write something, but just… didn’t. Like everyone, I have a million questions swirling in my head, but I’ve chosen to stay quiet during this waiting phase so the investigators can do their investigating and the lawyers can do their lawyering. But man, the wheels of justice can grind agonizingly slow!

On May 11th, Heinrich’s attorneys submitted their laundry list of pre-trial motions, which included a motion to suppress evidence found during the search of Heinrich’s home last summer, a motion to suppress incriminating statements Heinrich made during that search, and a motion for a change of venue, preferably out of state.

On June 1st, federal prosecutors responded to the defense’s motions with a 46 page document, explaining why none of the evidence/statements should be suppressed and laying out in detail why Danny Heinrich is considered a person of interest in Jacob Wetterling’s kidnapping. It also makes strong connections to Jared’s assault and the Paynesville attacks. If you haven’t already, take a look for yourself. The court document makes for compelling reading, and I encourage you to read it and leave your own comments below. Here’s a link where you can download it on WCCO’s web site:

Download the June 1 court filing…

And, of course, there was another monumental court filing made last month. Jared Scheierl took advantage of the Minnesota Child Victim’s Act to sue Danny Heinrich in civil court. Under this act, which started May 24, 2013, adult survivors of childhood sex abuse had a three-year window of opportunity to file suit against their abusers in civil court. On May 11th, Jared and his attorneys charged Heinrich with one count of sexual battery and one count of false imprisonment. He seeks damages in excess of $50,000, yet realizes he will likely see none of it. For him, it’s about answers, and justice, and the chance to looks his assailant in the eye. But he’ll have to wait until Heinrich’s child pornography trial is over, which will start on July 11th… if all goes as planned.

So, we wait some more.

But in the mean time, I have something new and exciting to write about. From July 14-23, my son Jordan and I will be joining Jerry Wetterling and his annual group of trekkers on the 23rd Annual Wilderness Trek for JWRC. In spite of my irrational fear of grizzly bears and chipmunks (and not necessarily in that order), I’m actually going to do this thing!

Last year, I interviewed Jerry about the Wilderness Trek, along with Bill Simpson (Trek Leader) and Alison Feigh (Program Manager for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center). (Read the interview here…) At that time, Jerry had just asked me to go along on last year’s trek, but I had a thousand reasons why I couldn’t go (mostly the grizzly/chipmunk thing). But this year, when he asked again, I said of course. Why not! How hard can it be!

Joy and Jordan

Joy and Jordan

So, on July 14th, Jordan and I will join 10-12 other trekkers on a van ride to Salida, Colorado where we will be “Trekking for Hope” in order to raise money for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center. We will be beginning in the Buena Vista area and ending with the plan of climbing one of the many 14,000 ft peaks in the area.

Bill Simpson is our trek leader and has years of wilderness adventure experience. He donates his time and expertise to lead the trek and in return he asks all participants to collect pledges, which directly benefit the Center. Each of us pays our own expenses such as food, gas, first aid supplies etc.

Jordan and I have a goal of raising $5,000 for this year’s Trek fundraiser. As you all know, this has been a trying year for the Wetterlings, as well as Jared, and all the Paynesville victims. Last November, when we put together an informational meeting for the residents of Paynesville, the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center responded to the call. They made the two hour drive in the fog and were there to provide resources for families, residents, and victims. In fact, they are always there, with a a 24/7 Victim Assistance Helpline for families and communities around issues related to missing persons, abuse and exploitation.

What many people don’t realize is that Jerry and Patty Wetterling started the Jacob Wetterling Foundation on Jacob’s 12th birthday – February 17, 1990. It is a legacy of love… and hope… that continues to live on under the umbrella of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center.

In 2015, JWRC trained 10,317 people at 110 different host sites, a 19% increase of people trained in 2014. In addition, the Center provided case management support to 36 new missing person cases in 2015 and 73 total cases with on-going support and advocacy.

We’re hoping you’ll join us in supporting the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center by considering a donation to the 2016 Wilderness Trek!

To donate online, go to https://foundation.gundersenhealth.org/protectkids. Under “Designation,” please choose “Trek Donation – Jacob Wetterling Resource Center,” and in the box that says “Special notes about this gift,” please add “Joy and Jordan.”

Checks can be made out to JWRC with TREK in the memo line. Mail to 16162 Golfview Rd NE, New London, MN 56273. If you’d like to receive a receipt, just let me know and I will get one to you. All donations to JWRC are 100% tax deductible.

Donations are preferred to be received by July 7th.

Thank you so much for your consideration! Much more to come!

NEXT: 25 more days…

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