Running for a Cause, Local Man Running to Benefit Non-Profits

By: 
JENNA GILBERT
Staff Writer

Back again for their fourth marathon fundraiser, Rod Carpenter and his wife, Barb, have their sights set on giving back to two, local non-profits who focus on new beginnings.
The Celina residents have their goal set at $25,000 to raise for the Mercer County House of Hope and Project Everybody Beautiful.
House of Hope is a faith-based recovery house that not only helps people struggling with addiction rid themselves of their addiction, but also set them up for success once their time is done. Over the course of eight to 18 months, individuals in the homes will go through a five phase program. Some of the requirements of each phase include finding a job, planning a budget, paying off court and attorney fees, setting up a savings account and developing a feasible exit plan.
Project # Everybody Beautiful focuses on helping women overcome obstacles such as abuse and addiction. Started by Kristen Rutledge, owner of Identity Salon, as a way to encourage lifestyle changes she uses donations and revenue from a small clothing line to pay for the services she provides to women.
Both organizations were something the Carpenters thought everyone could related to.
“We picked those because, you know, that kind of stuff has hit probably everybody in one way or another,” he said. “You’ve either got a family member or friend or somebody and it hit our family and it kind of was like a no brainer … and we thought that is something a lot of people will jump on board with.”
An avid distance runner, Carpenter pairs up fundraisers efforts — something he gives all the credit to his wife — with running marathons, something he truly enjoys, but took a long break from.
From 1978 to 1987, Rod ran in several marathons, including the Boston Marathon in 1987. That was the last marathon he ran for 26 years after suffering from arthritis in his knee from a previous surgery. In 2006, he had the knee completely replaced but it wasn’t until 2013 that he found the courage to ask his surgeon if he could start running again.
“I went 26 years and through that time I never lost the itch to run but I couldn’t,” he said.
When he was given the clearance to go back, he felt like he was given a new beginning, and figured that if God was giving him this, then he needed to help other’s in some way.
Since starting up again, the Carpenters have been successful in raising more than $37,000 for local non-profits and one family in need of financial help. The first fundraiser for the Anderson family in Celina raised more than $9,000. During previous fundraisers, he has set goals of $10,000 only to reach it, set a new goal of $15,000 and reach it again. This time they have set their goal of $25,000 and are more than halfway there with around $15,000 raised as of Saturday.
“I just picked that number because a goal is something that is really a stretch but it is also attainable,” he said. “It’s not like if you don’t get it you fail. I mean, as long as you put your best effort into it.”
Over the weekend, coffee goers at the Celina and St. Marys Biggby Coffee shops had a chance to donate to Carpenter’s cause with the purchase of grande or super specialty drink, $1 was donated to the non-profits.
The solidarity with Biggby Coffee came when Carpenter said he was going around to local businesses and explaining exactly what he was doing and asking for their support and donations. Without the support of businesses, Carpenter said reaching the goal wouldn’t be feasible, and is appreciative of the support they have given him.
With his conversation with the owner of the Biggby’s, Jonathan Sell, he said it took less than a minute to convince him to help out. Sell isn’t the only one hosting a fundraiser for the runner either.
Last week C-Town Wings in Celina held a fundraiser and on Thursday CJ Highmarks will also be hosting a fundraiser to support the cause.
None of the money raised at these businesses, or even private donations, goes into the pockets of the Carpenters. In fact, they request that all checks be made out to the House of Hope of Project # Everybody Beautiful. They do request that all donations be given directly to themselves as they also have a final contribution to make when all is said and done.
“The other thing too is, my wife and I never feel like going out and asking people for money if we’re not putting something into it ourselves,” Carpenter said. “We committed to putting in 10% of whatever we raised at least up to $20 grand, so the most we’re going to have out of it is $2,000 out of our own pocket.”
This year, Carpenter will be running in Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota on June 22. This was the marathon he ran in two fundraisers ago and said he wasn’t pleased with his finish and is looking to redeem himself this year.
“It’s really all God driven,” he said. “I think he’s the one giving us the opportunity to do this. I don’t really worry a lot about the money. If I’m out there doing the work I am supposed to do, it’s just going to end up where it ends up.”
For more information about the marathon, visit their Facebook page, “Marathon IV: New Beginnings!” Rod can be reached by calling 419-236-9136. Check donations can be sent to 2203 Eaglebrooke Circle, Celina, Ohio 45822.

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