Under a few shelter houses this weekend were a few dozen folks who were gathered to walk for the memory of Luke and to raise money for students who need scholarships for college.
Luke Simmons was a 24 year old who grew up in the Des Moines area and was killed by a lightning strike on July 27, 2007. Luke was on a trail run near Denver, Colorado training for the Colorado Relay. A fast moving storm system moved in over the route and a lightning strike took the life of Luke.
This past Saturday a friend of Luke's family asked if I would give a brief talk about lightning safety before the walk. It was dry at the Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines as those friends and family gathered to honor Luke's memory and his passion for fitness and the outdoors. I took a few minutes to remind those people that any place outside is dangerous when lightning is close. If you can hear thunder roar...you need to go indoors. Lightning can strike from up to 10 miles away. When you hear thunder...go indoors until 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder is heard. Just the basics of lightning safety.
Listening were Luke's parents, Jim and Kathy Simmons. They are so gracious and their love for Luke has blossomed into an opportunity to help others.
Friends of Luke have raised thousands of dollars over the past four years for students that need scholarships for college.
ACE Mentoring of Iowa, Climb Iowa/Grubb YMCA High Achievers Program and the Colorado Relays/Outward Bound program. Were the recipients of this year's walk in West Des Moines. Another event is planned for Colorado.
My heart goes out to Jim and Kath Simmons. No one can imagine loosing a child. The Simmons' work has made a big difference in the lives of many other young people around Iowa and Colorado.
I put the web address for Team Luke on the blog tonight in hopes you would take a minute to visit.