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Our History

The Watertown Alzheimer's Walk was created in The Watertown Area Alzheimer's Support group in 2005. The Support Group identified services that caregivers needed. Those supportive services required funds. A group of Jenkins Living Center employees got together to talk about raising funds to support those services. The group included Loren Diekman, Connie Lake, Denna Bullis, Kenny Drake, Kristi Gloe, Marie Waldow, Janie Fox and Layle Ragels-Nawroth. They met informally, with no name. They planned the first Alzheimer's Walk. As they raised funds every year, they identified more support services for caregivers. With Kenny Drake's help, they created and funded The Mary Drake Library. It consisted of a rolling cart that was able to travel to each Support Group meeting every month at Jenkins Living Center. When the caregivers were not checking out material at the monthly meetings, the cart could be found in the lobby of JLC. In 2012 the group identified a need to provide caregivers with "Respite Care Scholarships.  That same year the first Respite Care Scholarship was awarded to a caregiver who was part of the Support Group. In 2013, the group decided to name themselves "The Watertown Alzheimer's Council." That name was registered at the South Dakota Secretary of State's office. The Alzheimer's Council decided to provide free Memory Screenings to the community as a service. That program also began in 2013. The Council, Jenkins living Center, Watertown Search and Rescue all teamed up to provide "Project Lifesaver '' under the umbrella of The Alzheimer's Foundation of America. As their support services grew, so did the Council. Julie Ranum and Jody Neiman Priest were among some of the new faces.The council continued to oversee the services for caregivers.

The Council also helped sponsor  a few community events, like a concert featuring Robby Vee ( whose father Bobby Vee had Alzheimers) and a community event with Watertown Council of Aging. These were done to promote the services they offered.

The Watertown Alzheimer's Council was disbanded and they partnered with the Watertown Area Council on Aging in 2021 to create  the Watertown Memory Care and Aging Network. It's a new entity, but the programs and volunteers continue to guide all the support services for caregivers.

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