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Coming together for a great cause

When the eastbound section of the Daniel Boone Bridge, complete with a bike and pedestrian trail, was being built over the Missouri River, realtor and civic leader Tom Shaw Sr. began talking about organizing a regional walk or bike ride across it. His goal was to get people from St. Louis and St. Charles counties to walk side-by-side, symbolizing the collaboration he saw every day in his commercial real estate businesses and as a member of Progress 64 West, whose mission is “to create and maintain sustainable communities and a high-quality standard of life in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.”

Shaw passed away before his dream could be realized. But the idea of his walk lived on in the hearts of his business colleagues, Progress 64 West members, friends and family. 

Civic leader John Hammond, who will co-host the walk with retired banker R.B. Clark III, began working with Shaw in the late ‘80s after Chesterfield was incorporated. They served first on the Chesterfield Visionary Committee, and then helped to develop Chesterfield Civic Progress, which later became Progress 64 West and made it easier for both counties to come together. He noted that his participation in the walk stemmed not only from his friendship with Shaw but because “it is so important to find a cure for this devastating disease, that can affect the whole family.” 

“Participating in the walk is a great way to help support those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and to learn more about this disease,” he said.

Originally, the walk was scheduled for 2020. But then, COVID-19. Need we say more? Now, after years of planning and the establishment of the Tom Shaw Foundation, the walk is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Katy Trail Trailhead, near Good News Brewery in Augusta.

According to Debbie Shaw Franke, Tom’s daughter and one of the organizers of the event, on-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by remarks from a few local leaders. 

“Then, at 9:30, we’ll do a countdown from 10 and everybody will take off down the Katy Trail,”  Franke said. 

The course will be an out-and-back walk from Augusta, east to the Klondike Park boat ramp, marked in  1-mile, 2-mile and 3-mile increments. Participation in the walk costs $25 per person. Each participant will receive a T-shirt and goody bag and, more importantly, all proceeds from registration fees will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association as part of its Longest Day initiative. 

“Dad had Alzheimer’s, and I think where Alzheimer’s is concerned we all know people who have family that has been affected by it. It’s so prevalent,” Franke said. “Because of those reasons, we thought the Alzheimer’s Association was the right benefactor for this event.”

Franke and her organizing partners know they will see a lot of Tom’s friends and colleagues at the walk but they are hoping to see plenty of strangers, too. People who simply want to come out and walk the trail, perhaps in honor of their own family member, support the Alzheimer’s Association and enjoy the beauty of the Katy Tail.

“The beauty of southern St. Charles County along the Katy Trail to Defiance and Augusta is a benefit to the whole region,” Franke said, sounding a lot like her dad. “The river doesn’t divide us.

“Dad’s area of focus and expertise was from I-270 in St. Louis County out into St. Charles County. His idea for a walk or a bike ride was to show the connectivity of the two communities. I can see people coming out for the walk and then touring around Augusta to see some of the work being done by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, visiting some of the wineries and enjoying a fun afternoon.”

Individuals and businesses can register for the walk, make a donation or sign up as an event sponsor at tomshawfoundation.org. To be guaranteed a T-shirt, it’s best to register online by Sept. 15. 

“We are very grateful to all our sponsors and especially our Community Sponsors that include 360 Quality Care + Transport Services; Enterprise Bank & Trust; Doster, Ullom & Boyle, LLC; The Family of Pat Hoffman: Mid Rivers Newsmagazine and West Newsmagazine,” Franke said. 

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