Marshfield (OnFocus) – Almost 17 years ago, Ron Hertel started saving all of his coins, putting them into jars and then moving full jars into the basement. Last week, he cashed in all of those coins – more than $6,600 worth – and donated a percentage to a cause near to his heart.
“I just never spent any of it,” he said. “Recently, a friend at work said I should cash it in. After my friend told me that, I got an email from the credit union saying they are going to match funds for a certain project.”
Marshfield Medical Center Credit Union, where Hertel has been a longtime member, was encouraging members to cash in their coins, which the credit union would then match and donate a percentage of to the new Cattails Cottage.
“Everything fell into place,” said Hertel, who called MMCCU to ask about bringing in his coins.
“They said to bring it through the drive-thru and I said that wasn’t going to work!” he said with a chuckle. While staff helped Hertel haul in jar after jar of coins, Hertel shared that he was going to be donating 10% of whatever the total was to ALS research.
In 2018, Hertel’s best friend Todd Besler passed away from ALS. Shortly after, family friend Kim Dolezal also passed away from the disease.
“Thinking about it, what really triggered it all is the day I was dropping coins off I was going to Todd’s dad’s funeral, Jim Besler,” said Hertel. “They treated me like family and as a son and as a friend for my whole life. As I was driving in with the change, I didn’t know how much I had, but I was thinking, this is all kind of ‘free money.’ I had no plans for it. I was thinking of Todd and Kim, and my wife’s best friend Kathy who is fighting ALS right now.”
A rare disease, ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) is progressive nervous system disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control. There is no cure.
Moved by Hertel’s story, MMCCU VP of Finance & Risk David Murphy said the credit union would match Hertel’s donation towards ALS research. In addition to their matching donation to Cattails Cottage (for a total of $1500), MMCCU also donated $665 in Hertel’s honor towards ALS research.
“I really appreciate the credit union doing that. I know they’ve already committed money and times are tough, but it was nice they were able to do that additionally,” said Hertel. “We’ve banked here for a long time and they didn’t have to do this. I’m so thankful. It was just really nice.”
Hertel encourages everyone to consider saving their spare coins and donating them to a cause that matters to them.
“It might not seem like a lot of money, but it doesn’t take a little to give a lot, it takes a lot to give a little,” he said. “If others would think about doing the same, whether it’s ALS or heart disease or breast cancer, saving coins can make a difference.”
The Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation is hosting an ALS Walk on September 12. Visit this link to register.
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