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5K to honor Verdeck, advocate against distracted driving

An April 24 5K will honor the memory of Penny Verdeck, who died in April 2015.

Mike Meyer thinks his family has found a way to both honor his sister Penny Verdeck, and to find some meaning in her death.
Verdeck died on April 26, 2015, when she was struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle.
Distracted driving may have been a factor in Penny’s death, and her family wants to get the word out about just how dangerous distracted driving can be.
Meyer came up with the idea of a 5K run to honor Penny and spread the message about the dangers of distracted driving. It is set for Sunday, April 24, at Oak Leaf Park in Glencoe. The theme is “Just Drive.”
“Penny loved to run,” said Meyer. “She got me into it. I just had this vision of a way to rally to the cause … to share memories of Penny, and get the word out on distractive driving.
“I was trying to figure out a way to make something good come out of something really bad. If we can save one person from what happened to Penny, if we can save one person from suffering what we have … it just gives it some meaning,” said Meyer.
Meyer described his sister as “full of energy. She was constantly on the go. She was a runner, a biker and a swimmer.” She competed in triathlons, marathons and other athletic competitions.
Which was why he decided a 5K would be an appropriate way to honor her memory. Meyer said a 5K is a fairly short event that walkers and runners, old and young, can participate in.
Meyer said that while Penny was a dedicated athlete, she was “even far more than that. Until her funeral, even I didn’t realize just how involved she was in the community. She just didn’t talk about it, because it wasn’t about recognition. It was about the community.”
Verdeck was a Sunday school teacher, a member of the Glencoe Library Board, a Girl Scout leader, FFA ambassador and more.
 “And above all, she was dedicated to her family,” Meyer said. “She wasn’t one to just send her girls off to do something, she was with them every step of the way.”
Penny is survived by her husband, Ryan Verdeck, and their daughters, Morgan and Claire. The family resides in Glencoe.
Her parents, Dennis and Susan Meyer, still live in Glencoe. Her siblings are still fairly close by. Meyer lives in Hutchinson, as does sister Christine Carrigan. Another sister, Veronica Linngren, lives in Milbank, South Dakota.
Meyer has set up a Facebook page for the Just Drive! Family 5K. As of Sunday, the event had attracted over 100 entrants in the 12 days that registration was open.
Pre-registrations can be made online at https://www.raceentry.com/race-reviews/just-drive-5K. Registration is free, but free-will donations will be accepted. Those who donate $20 or more will receive a T-shirt and goodie bag. Water and refreshments will be provided.
Sign-ins on the day of the race, Sunday April 24, start at 7:30 a.m., and the run/walk starts at 9 a.m.
Any excess proceeds will go toward local programs that educate young people on the dangers of distracted driving, Meyer said.
For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page, call Meyer at 320-296-3703, or email him at meyermike71@gmail.com.