As now-10.5-year-old Tate Boyd recently celebrated his half-birthday, one thing was conspicuously missing. There were plenty of friends to share in the fun and lots of cake to go around, but there weren’t many gifts to unwrap.
Instead of presents, the Urbandale boy requested donations for a local cause of his choosing. Tate is an enthusiastic bike rider, so he donated his birthday haul to the Let’s Connect bike trail project, which is constructing a new path between Perry and Woodward.
Tate celebrated with a joint birthday party with his sisters Maggie and Lili. The birthday boy said his family already has everything they need, so instead of gifts they now give donations. Family members have made celebratory contributions to hospitals and animal rescue organizations throughout central Iowa.
All three children agreed that this was the best birthday ever, according to their mother, Beth Ann Boyd.
“They got just as much joy out of collecting money for charity,” she said.
Tate, along with his family, recently made the trek to the Dallas County Conservation Board offices at the Forest Park Museum to deliver a $350 check to Director Mike Wallace. After handing over the contribution, the soon-to-be fifth grader said someday he’d really like to ride his bike from the museum all the way to the High Trestle Trail.
“The $350 contribution is a sizable gift for anyone,” said Wallace, “but we were especially impressed by the thoughtfulness of this gesture.”
Wallace continued, “I thought, How can we enhance his generosity even more? So let’s leverage Tate’s donation. The challenge to trail supporters is to see how many matching $350 gifts for the connector project can be made by the end of August. It would be great to turn Tate’s $350 gift into thousands more.”
While Raccoon River Valley and High Trestle Trails are two of Iowa’s premier trail systems, the new connector trail segment will link these networks, and Perry will host trailheads for both. The paved paths are popular with bike riders and also provide recreational opportunities for runners, walkers, skiers and skaters.
The first phase of the $5 million project is already underway as crews are constructing the initial 1.5 miles of trail starting in Perry and working eastward.
Ken Keffer is the outreach coordinator for the Dallas County Conservation Board.