CEDAR RAPIDS — Veterans and the Rollergirls are teaming up off the rink for a Black and Blue Masquerade Ball fundraiser on Friday that will help open a wellness center, which will be free for military veterans, and also support the roller derby sport.
The Veterans Active Military organization, which started last year, came up with the idea of creating a wellness center for veterans and active military personnel and the Cedar Rapids Rollergirls decided to support the organization as both start efforts to become nonprofits, Katie Kimmich, vice president of Rollergirls, said.
The short-term goal is to raise $5,000, which will be split between the two organizations. The ball, which starts at 8 p.m. Friday in the armory at Veterans Memorial Building, will have food, a cash bar, live music for dancing, door prizes and a silent auction. A variety of donated items will be available during the auction including, a 55-inch television, designer purse and a wine fridge. Tickets are available online or at the door for $15.
The money will be used to buy cardio and weight equipment for the wellness room and general upkeep, and the Rollergirls will use their share for a capital fund and to buy a new track. The wellness center will have two rooms, one for cardio equipment, such as treadmills and stationary bicycles; and the other for weightlifting equipment.
Randy Ridenour, director of Veterans Active Military, said the wellness center, located in the Veterans Memorial Building, will open sometime in March. The center is free to veterans, but other community members will be allowed to join for a small fee. The Rollergirls also will volunteer their time to help set up and move equipment into the building.
Kimmich said she hopes the Rollergirls, who were on hiatus last year due to lack of members to participate in derby events, will start derbies again this year. There were some members not able to play because of pregnancies, and other members retired. Kimmich and other members were actively recruiting last year.
Ridernour said his organization hopes to sponsor or help partner with more organizations in the future at Veterans Memorial.
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