Bowling for a cause

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey A crowd looks on as bowlers take their turns at the lanes during the 15th annual Bowling Classic Fundraiser hosted by the Oak Hills Memorial Foundation Monday at Concordia Lanes.

NEW ULM — Concordia Lanes was crowded Monday during the Oak Hills Memorial Foundation’s 15th annual Bowling Classic.

The annual bowling fundraiser raises money for requests with a bucket raffle and donations from corporate sponsors. This year’s fundraiser is fulfilling a long-term request for a wheelchair-accessible walkway.

“They have been hearing for years from family members and residents that once you get outside you are stuck,” Consultant Director Kathy Austinson said. “You can get to a point in the garden and that is it, you cannot take your relative for a walk.”

The fundraiser usually aims for about $12,000, but often makes more than that. It is anticipated to pay for about half of the walkway’s cost.

In the past, the fundraiser has helped pay for various items including lifts, but the largest so far was probably the lift-van.

Most other foundation fundraisers, such as the Foundation Frolics, raise money primarily for the endowment or operating costs.

The event started as an idea to have a fundraiser that was not another golf tournament.

“The idea for it came about because we wanted a nice fundraiser that would generate funds through the winter when people were not out doing golf tournaments,” long-term Bowling Classic Committee member Patty Matthews said.

The foundation itself began when Oak Hills was still the Highland Manor Nursing Home. It went dormant after Highland was replaced by Oak Hills.

The foundation restarted in 2001 to support the living center, according to its website.

“Our goal, on the foundation board, is to make the Oak Hills Living Center visible, so that people are aware that it is something that needs their care and love and attention,” Austinson said.

Donors and volunteers can contact the foundation at (507) 359-2120 or visit its website at

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at