He worked hard!
Picked up trash. Tore down the finish line year after year after year.
Always with a smile and a kind word. Then we heard the news, “Tom has ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease.”
He continued to help a little, mostly directing his family. Then he was in a wheelchair, but still watching the finish area. And then he was gone.
Two or three years later, we got a call. “This is Linda, my family would like to take over cleanup of the finish line in honor of Tom.” Then the next year, “This is Linda, our church, Hope Church, would like to help with the marathon. Are there any jobs you need help with?”
That was the start of an extraordinary relationship with one family and one church.
Hope Church started out with two areas: marathon cleanup/teardown of the finish area and packet pickup on Sunday morning. A year later, the group taking care of the finish line aid station stepped away, and Linda thought that Hope Church could assist there too! And so began Lori Jacoby’s involvement as the marathon’s finish-line aid-station coordinator.
A few years later the marathon needed some help with course monitors for the last half mile. God bless them! Another group of Hope Church volunteers came to our aid and are still helping. And when the marathon decided to have packet pickup on two days, increasing the number of volunteers needed, Linda was again heard saying, “Yes, I think we can help.” And help they did—with kindness, courtesy, and genuine Christian love.
Hope Church has held worship services for several years right by the Finish/Start line. Additionally, there have been Hope Church families cheering on runners, helping at the post-race party, and basically anywhere the marathon has a need.
Hope Church and Linda Rutz and her family continue to help with the Lincoln Marathon on the first Sunday in May in honor of Tom. Hope Church has embraced this volunteer opportunity, and we would like to present Hope Church and the Rutz family with the Lincoln Track Club’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award.