Celebrating in a different way
Thu, 06/18/2020 - 4:02pm admin
—Meirick family connecting through virtual event
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor email@example.com
PROTIVIN - The coronavirus pandemic has put a damper on some traditions and celebrations. Many festivals and get-togethers have been postponed or cancelled.
Paul Meirick, now of St. Cloud, Minn., found a way to stay connected with his family with the threat of two annual family get-togethers not taking place or being downsized — Grandma Ann Meirick’s 83rd July 4 birthday, Fourth of July activities and possibly Czech Days.
Paul and his wife, Kimberly started a virtual 5k race on July 4 called “A Meririck Can” Race: www.ameirickcanrace .com. It started out as just a family thing and took off from there.
Paul explained, “It really started with family Zoom calls during the first few weeks of COVID social distancing. We had great turnouts, and [Grandpa and Grandma] Bill and Ann were able to participate, as well. A few weeks into it, my wife and I were trying to find a 5k or 10k for the summer, but they were all cancelled, so we thought it might be fun to do a virtual 5k with our family.
“Grandma Ann’s birthday is July 4, so that seemed like a good day to do it. With Czech Days in jeopardy, my wife had the idea to ask for a small entry donation from runners and donate that to Trinity Catholic School. We’ve really only told family about it, but we’ve had a really strong response from family and now people outside of our family who would like the motivation of an upcoming race or a desire to contribute to the Trinity Catholic School donation.
“In honor of Ann’s birthday, any money we raise will go to the school in her name.”
Like many families, the Meiricks have members all over the area and country. They try to come together when they can. Coronavirus has made it more difficult this year. Paul said, “Though we won’t be able to be together physically on the Fourth, we can all share this experience of getting outside and going 3.1 miles as a celebration of Grandma Ann, the Fourth and donating a bit to Trinity Catholic School. Czech Days is usually a big reason to come home, too, but we’ll see if it happens this year with COVID.”
Paul grew up in Protivin and attended Trinity Catholic (Holy Trinity at that time). Arlene (Don) Chyle was a favorite teacher of his. She still lives between Protivin and Cresco and taught all his aunts and uncles, as well as the next generation.
“I was at Holy Trinity for first through sixth grades. My class of eight students was the first class not to be taught by a nun. Not sure if that was good or bad,” he laughed.
Paul and Kimberly met at Luther College, where he wrestled, and she played softball. Paul went to medical school at the University of Iowa, and she worked as a nurse. He did internal medicine residency at UC-San Diego and a sports medicine fellowship at Vanderbilt in Nashville. “I’m currently a sports medicine physician at St. Cloud Orthopedics, and Kim is a nurse for UC-San Diego. She works remotely from our home.” They have two children, Sophie (two-years-old) and Eloise (11 months).
Running is something Paul enjoys. “My times are now a bit slower because I’m usually pushing a double stroller,” he joked. “We just enjoy being outside as often as we can.”
Paul has been overwhelmed by people’s willingness to sign up for the race. It started out as a family endeavor and has evolved into friends of family and friends of friends of family.
Paul noted, “I’m really proud of everyone for making a commitment to training for the race. This race has also had an unintended consequence because just about every day someone in my family sends me a picture of themselves running or being outside, but it’s usually while I’m at work, so it makes me envious that I can’t be outside, too!”
Of belonging to the Meirick clan, Paul says, “We’ve been so lucky! We picked our grandparents well. Bill and Ann raised nine children while running a business and farming. They now have 21 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. They are excellent examples of all the great things that can come from a marriage.
“We were also lucky to have grown up in a town like Protivin. Small town Iowa fosters a strong work ethic, emphasizes the importance of community and is often supported by locally-owned business, and that’s what we’ll be celebrating on July Fourth.”
Friends, family, neighbors and strangers are welcome to sign up for the July 4 5k run/walk. A $5 donation is suggested to help out Trinity Catholic School. All donations are being matched by Farmers Mill.