by Erica Van Soelen
The 11th annual Gene Van Wyk 5k Memorial Run/Walk is coming up on March 31. This event is held in remembrance of Gene Van Wyk who worked as the guidance counselor at Pella Christian from 1980 until his death in 1998. “He died on April 1, so on the 10th anniversary of this death, we decided to have a 5k run in his memory,” said Van Wyk’s daughter Leasa Jansen.
During his time at Pella Christian, Van Wyk was highly valued. His role as a guidance counselor allowed him to do what he was truly passionate about which was investing in people. He started a few programs at PC such as weight lifting, soccer, and a school-to-work program. When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and found out that it was terminal, he still found a way to give God glory. “He often said that he was in a win-win situation. If God chose to grant him additional years on earth, he would have a short-term win. If not, he had an eternal win that is above all else,” said Jansen.
Since sports were important to Van Wyk and he started the weight lifting program, all money raised at event will go to the Gene Van Wyk Memorial fund, which helps to support the PC weight room.
People of all ages are invited to participate. It costs $15 for students to register, $20 for adults, and $70 for families. Anyone may register online, mail a registration form to Home Realty, or drop off a form at PC. The race will begin at 9:00 on Saturday, March 31.