In an inspiring display of community spirit, three local heroes – a doctor, a police officer, and a teacher – have joined forces to organize a unique fundraiser, The Great Itasca Giveback, aimed at supporting eight deserving local charitable organizations and causes.  The trio is set to embark on their journey of running, biking, and rollerblading to raise funds and awareness for causes close to their hearts starting at 7am on August 2, 2024.  Officer Troy Scott plans to run his first marathon (26.2 miles).  Dr. Simon Lick will bike 125 miles (something he has never done) and Phill Hermel will rollerblade 98.8 miles.  Their plan is to complete the journey from Grand Rapids to the Canadian border and back in 36 hours.


Phill Hermel says that people ask why they are doing this fundraiser and that the answer is, “because there is a need in our community, and we can try to do our best to help.”  Recognizing the need for support in various sectors, they decided to channel their collective energy into a triathlon-type fundraiser that not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also raises funds for essential local charitable organizations and causes that serve the community.  Their goal is to raise at least $15,000 for the Itasca Friendship Club, Itasca Area Cancer Crisis Endowment Fund, Jim Tarbell Cancer Care Fund, Itasca Ironsides Sports Team, Itasca Search and Rescue and Itasca Dive Team, North Homes School-Based Mental Health Services of Itasca County and Grand Itasca Foundation’s Patient Crisis Fund.


There are many ways for the community to be involved in this fundraiser through sponsorships, donations, purchase of merchandise, raffles tickets and more.  They have already started to receive sponsorships and donations and encourage the community to get involved in any way they can.  Let’s come together, show our support, and make this fundraiser a symbol of our community’s strength and generosity.


You can find out more information by going to The Great Itasca Giveback Facebook page.  You can donate to The Great Itasca Giveback through the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation (GRACF) by donating online at and click on Donate and search for The Great Itasca Giveback fund.  You can also drop off or send donations to GRACF at 350 NW 1st Avenue, Suite E, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

PHOTO:  Officer Troy Scott, Dr. Simon Lick, Phill Hermel