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Ironman pastors support future church workers

Four LCMS Michigan District pastors, including three Concordia Seminary alums, recently swam, biked and ran to raise money for future church workers.

Rev. Mark Milatz (’03), Rev. Ben Vogel (’11), Dr. Evan Gaertner (’01) and Rev. Drew Gruenhagen (CTSFW ’02) completed the 140.6-mile Ironman Triathlon Oct. 9 in Louisville, Ky. The foursome, nicknamed “Tri1406,” all finished the race in under 17 hours.

The group also used the event as an opportunity to raise funds for students preparing for church work in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). They decided to donate the proceeds of their fundraising efforts to the “Here We Stand,” a district-wide capital campaign that provides financial assistance to all LCMS Michigan District students who are attending an LCMS seminary or pursuing a church work-related undergraduate degree at one of the Concordia University System schools.

The four pastors requested donations from friends, colleagues and family members and suggested the amounts of $14.06, $140.60 or $1,406 be contributed, reflecting the race mileage. According to Milatz, the group hoped to raise enough money to fund 20 scholarships. Milatz announced as of Nov. 4, the group had raised just under $26,000 and were still accepting donations.

He said his congregation was enthusiastic about the project and was happy to help seminary students. “We have really seen the need for more pastors for the LCMS,” Milatz said.

To learn more about the pastors’ journey and their fundraising efforts, visit www.tri1406.com.

From left: Rev. Ben Vogel, Rev. Mark Milatz, Dr. Evan Gaertner and Rev. Drew Gruenhagen. Photo by: Mark Milatz
From left: Rev. Ben Vogel, Rev. Mark Milatz, Dr. Evan Gaertner and Rev. Drew Gruenhagen. Photo by: Mark Milatz