5K a day for 30 Days: Retired vet’s ‘OFG Challenge’ raising money for Wings Home

ALLEGAN, Mich. -- A retired veterinarian is keeping active this summer, by walking a 5K a day for 30 days to raise money for Wings Home. Dr. Jim Connell dubbed the effort, the "OFG 150K in 30 Day Walk Challenge".

"The OFG stands for Old Fat Guy," Connell joked. "This is important to me because it's a way that I can give back to the community, and I see it as an incredibly worthy cause."

Connell began on July 17 and successfully wrapped up the challenge on Aug. 17 during the Strides for Health 5K at Allegan General Hospital.

It's not the first physical challenge he's completed to raise money for Wings Home, a free end-of-life care facility.

"I'm always trying to find a way to raise money for it," he explained. "My very first one was an ice bucket challenge, we did that for three years on the first of January ... That morphed into, I enjoy biking."

Connell biked 500 miles in 50 days last year. He planned to do the same this summer, until a shoulder injury forced him to change his plans.

"I can't bike, I can walk," he told FOX 17. "I didn't go through open heart surgery, or knee surgery, or repair the other shoulder so that I couldn't do things. I went through that so I could do things."

To date, Connell's efforts have brought in more than $41, 000 for Wings Home.

"Between the two organizations, Wings Home and Wings of Hope Hospice, we have to raise over $500,000 a year," explained Dr. Theresa Lynn, Director of Wings Home. "So every bit of help that we get is very much appreciated."

After decades of a thriving veterinary practice in Allegan, Connell is passionate about giving back to the community that's been so good to him.

"I can't think of a time where people, where families need more help, than when they're losing a loved one," he said. "If I can be, in any way shape, form or fashion, a little help, a little consolation during that time, I want to be that."

As the FOX 17 and Lake Michigan Credit Union Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Connell is receiving a $300 prize. He said he plans to donate the money to Wings Home, where it will fund two days of care.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Harry Miller, our July Pay it Forward Person of the Month.

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