Jack’s Joy Ride fundraising event travels to 14 Stateline businesses


Last year, Brandon and Valerie Baumann suffered the devastating loss of their son, 4-year-old Jack Baumann, after a tragic accident at his first soccer game. 

Jack Baumann was often called Smiling Jack. Photo: Valerie Baumann

They channeled the immense grief of losing their precious son back into love by organizing a fundraiser to honor their son’s memory. 

This year, the community can look forward to celebrating Jack’s 6th birthday by honoring his memory with family and friends and supporting the Jack Baumann Memorial at Jack’s Joy Ride on Saturday, October 7, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Meraki’s Salon + Studio offered to host this year’s event and will serve as the official starting spot and central meeting place for the joyride. Here, you will be given a passport that you can then bring to the other thirteen participating local businesses referred to as JackSPOTS. These JackSPOTS will then give you stamps for your passport, and you can use these stamps for the 50/50 raffle and other raffles, offering over forty different prize baskets. After the Joy Ride concludes, everyone will meet back at Meraki from 5-7 p.m. for fun, food trucks, ice cream, face painting, and a D.J.  The businesses that will be JackSPOTS are

        Along with the participating JackSPOTS, several other local businesses and individuals will provide gift baskets to be raffled at the event. 

        The Jack Baumann Memorial was created by Brandon and Valerie Baumann and Jack’s aunt as a way not only to help them heal but also to give back to the outstanding community that supported them during the most challenging time in their lives.

        The Jack Baumann Memorial is an organization dedicated to raising funds for Pre-K scholarships and helping other families who have suffered the loss of children.

        Brandon Baumann says, “The scholarships are set up for preschool children at Prairie Hill Elementary. The school’s Pre-K program is not a state-funded program, the cost is borne by the parents. So we've partnered with the teachers who do the initial screening, for them to provide a recommendation as to what students would be most valuable for this, that would benefit from the program but would also have a challenge to afford the program, and this allows us to help fill that gap.”

        He also shares that some of the funds they have raised have also been used to help out other families that have experienced the loss of a child. They have assisted eight families so far since the inception of the Jack Baumann Memorial. Last year, the foundation partnered with The Angel Fund, which assists with negative school lunch balances, to help pay off local students’ unpaid debts.

        “This foundation was started by myself, my wife, and my wife’s best friend, who is essentially Jack’s aunt. We started the event, but as we reached out to build the organization, Chloe Kuhn and another organizer, Sarah Shoevlin, have been amazing. They have put so much of themselves into it, and we needed the help; this event is bigger than three people can put on. In total, we will probably have around forty volunteers, not including the businesses themselves that are participating, and to me, that's amazing, and none of this would have happened without Chloe and Sarah putting so much of their energy into it.” Brandon says. 

        Brandon adds that one thing he has learned through this experience is that the sense of community is very strong in this area, and what inspired them to find a way to give back. “When Jack passed, the community rallied to support us, and that helped us survive. We want to be able to pay back to the community what they did for us.”

        When asked what the Jack Baumann Memorial means to them, Brandon replied, “For both of us, this is an attempt to carry on the impact Jack had on our community and in other people’s lives. He was very social and very connected in the community. Very much a supporter and cheerleader type. Jack was always lifting people up, and for us, this is a way for us to continue to have him in our lives in a way, by continuing the things that we remember about him.” 

        Jack Baumann and his mom, Valerie Baumann

        To learn more, stay updated on the event, or volunteer, you can visit the Jack’s Joy Ride Event on Facebook. The Jack Baumann Memorial also has an Instagram page. 

        The Baumanns look forward to making this an annual event. 

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