A feature of the the Brady Water station at the Quad-Cities Bix 7, one of the biggest summer events in the Quad Cities.
By Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin
Near the end of the first leg of the Quad-Cities Bix 7 race course, volunteers in white shirts cheerfully extend their arms with a cup of water balanced on their palm.
Lori, 56, and Rick Piatt, 58, have been volunteering at the water station along Brady Street on the Bix course for 16 years. Both are the chairs of their water station.
This year, Lori said getting volunteers wasn’t a problem, and the number, she said has increased “by far.”
“We don’t even have to call them anymore; they just show up,” she said. “Everybody has been here for so many years, that it’s been just pretty automatic.”
About 100 community members volunteered at the Brady water station this year, Lori said. The water station on Brady is also the first on the course.
“Davenport is such as great community and we have that support. We’re the Midwest,” she said. “People will continue to do it year after year because it’s so enjoyable.”
This year, the Brady Street water station was located in front of the Center Love In Action, 1411 Brady St.
With about 20,000 cups to stack and fill, the couple arrived at the station at 5:30 a.m. to get an early start, Lori said.
She said the water station on Brady is the only water station on the course that gets hit twice by runners, first as they start the race up the hill, and as they run back down to the finish line.
For the Piatts, volunteering for the Bix is a family tradition. Before he started volunteering, Rick said, his sister DeEtta Montgomery used to volunteer at the Bix for 26 years.
Beth Hardiek, 47, of Davenport, has been volunteering at the Brady water station for two years. She said she came to support the community, and because it’s fun.
Adults weren’t the only ones volunteering at the water station. Some teenagers also came out to help the community.
Sebastian Falborg, 15, who was volunteering at the Bix for the first time, said he was persuaded by his church youth leaders to volunteer.
“It’s fun, and you get to meet new people,” he said as he held a cup of water on his palm, eagerly waiting for a runner to grab it away.
Falborg said volunteering for the Bix is important because, in his words, “If nobody wants to volunteer, nobody gets water, and then there’s no race.”
Standing next to Falborg with a Colorado cap to shade him from the sun, was Cole Roush, 11, who attends Cody Elementary, LeClaire.
“This my first year volunteering. She asked me if I wanted to,” he said, shaking his head to his right toward his grandmother, Mary Luchtel, 69, a retiree from Davenport.
For Cole, the race was sort of a little “reunion” with his father, Nate Roush.
“Yeah, he [Cole] wanted to come out here, and he knows that dad was running in the race, too, and he wanted to see him,” Luchtel said.
She said Cole’s father had moved to Colorado for work. “I haven’t seen him for a couple of months, so I wanted to see him,” Cole said.
“He [Nate] came back to run the race,” Luchtel said, who has volunteered for the Bix for seven years.
“The best part is seeing the that rush when they come up the hill in the beginning,” she said. “Just an endless rush of people coming up. That’s amazing.”
The Bix has also been bringing in Quad-Citians from across the Mississippi River to volunteer.
Brenda, 63, and Terry Verstraete, 69, of Moline, have been volunteering at the Bix water stations for 10 years.
The couple first started getting interested in volunteering for the race, after their son, Chris Hodge, of Atlanta, started racing. Hodge started racing when he was in junior high, Brenda said. Chris is 45 this year.
“It’s just fun to see all the different people. You got the young, the old, the in-between people. To see them out run is fun,” Terry said.