BOZEMAN — Since 1974, Reach Inc. in Bozeman provides residential, vocational, and transportation services for just over 100 adults living with developmental disabilities in the community.
On the 4th of July, the organization held its 14th annual Race for Independence.
“I’ve been here all 14 years and this feels like a family reunion,” said Executive Director Dee Metrick before the races began.
Metrick says without a doubt, 2020 was an incredibly tough year for clients and the organization as a whole.
“I might cry a little. Last year was super sad. Our clients were in their houses and couldn’t leave because COVID-19 was very dangerous for them,” she said.
This is why this year’s 14th annual race was so meaningful. Clients and the community back together again enjoying a community tradition, face-to-face.
“We actually had clients come out that never came out before. Some of our clients, it’s harder to get them out of bed this early on a day off,” said Metrick.
“And the participation with our clients was significantly higher this year. I think there’s a new appreciation for the opportunity to get out, and to be with people and to be with the people who support us and keep us in business.”
Reach Clients Amanda and Susan said aside from some of the pre-race jitters, they were thrilled to be surrounded by supporters.
And supporters in the community keep coming back, year after year, for the excitement
“What else are you going to do on the 4th of July? The energy, the excitement, the great weather!” said Jennifer Kayser, who’s attended the Reach Race almost every year.
Metrick says it’s important for staff and clients to reconnect after such a difficult year, and this year’s race was the perfect opportunity for that family reunion.
“The fact that they get to be here today with their families, with their staff. I’ve already hugged a bunch of people which I wasn’t able to do last year,” said Metrick.
“That independence and being able to be out is really important for our clients.”