Bagpipe event to honor ex-pastor, those affected by Alzheimer’s

Saturday will be a day to remember Pastor Don Deines and all those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s.

The Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center are hosting a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research Saturday, with all proceeds going to the Mayo Clinic. The center will host a bagpipe walk led by the Rochester-Caledonia Bagpipes at 2 p.m.

“This is not just about Don, this about all those people who have Alzheimer’s and their caregivers,” Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin said.

The walk will be followed by a 7 p.m. performance by Doug Wood and the Wild Spirit Band at the Paramount Theatre. Tickets will costs $10, and all proceeds will go toward Alzheimer’s research.

“We’re using music as a way to support Alzheimer’s research,” Dolphin said.

Music will also be a way to remember Deines. Dolphin described Deines as someone who frequented the Nature Center and also took multiple trips to the Boundary Waters with Dolphin.

“He enjoyed the outdoors,” Dolphin said.

Deines was a pastor at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, and Dolphin said he was someone who was well liked in the community.

“He just had a way with people that he connected and was very genuine,” he said.

With enough turnout, Saturday’s events could become an annual event to remember Deines and others like him.

“I kind of look at it as a celebration of Don’s life,” Dolphin said.

“We really want to remember people who are so good in the community and are good to people,” he added.

However, it’s not just about Deines. Dolphin said the fundraiser is a time to remember all those affected by Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

“It’s really about trying to give something back,” he said.

In Deines’ case, his wife, Judy, who cared for him during his illness.

Dolphin acknowledged a bag pipe walk isn’t a commonplace fundraiser.

“It’s kind of an unusual thing for a nature center to do,” he said.

But, Dolphin remembered Deines always seemed to show up whenever bagpipes were playing at the Nature Center, like at Pioneer Days.

But music is an important symbol to Dolphin. When visiting Deines after he’d been admitted to a nursing home, Dolphin’s wife, Nancy, started playing the piano. Many patients came out of their rooms to listen.

The walk will last about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on participation, according to Dolphin. But, the walk won’t entail extensive hiking, he added.

“It’s more about the music and the bagpipe music coming from the woods,” Dolphin said.

People can come and go as they please at the bagpipe walk. Cake and coffee will be served, and free will donations will be accepted.

After the walk, the focus will shift to the Paramount for Doug Wood and the Wild Spirit Band.

“The intent is to enjoy the music and remember those who passed and also acknowledge all those caregivers who have gone through the mental anguish,” Dolphin said.

Dolphin said he hopes to pack the Paramount.

“The more we have there the more money that goes to Mayo Clinic for research,” he said.

Regardless of the turnout, the event will be a way to remember someone held in high esteem in Austin.

“We miss you Don, but we’re not going to forget you,” he said.

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