Motorcycle rides, ice cream, a free meal of hotdogs and chips, plus the music of the Back Porch Pickers will all be part of a wonderful celebration — the Eugene Voga Memorial Ride — to remember a wonderful man. The event is coming up this Sunday, July 9, in Zearing at the Zearing Health Care Center (formerly Colonial Manor).


According to Bambi Cerka, activity director and social services designee at the Center, this will be a social event to remember Voga, who was from Story City, and later became “a well-loved member of our family here at the Zearing Health Care Center.”


“This event is the best way to honor Eugene’s memory, because he was a man who loved to spend time with family and friends,” Cerka said. “No one was a stranger after they met Eugene.”


Voga passed away this past January, and his family, in his memory, donated some money to the Center. Cerka said those at the Center felt this ride event was the best way to honor Voga’s memory.


“As you can see in the picture,” Cerka said, of the picture running with this story, which is also being used on flyers that were made about the event, “he was extremely happy on a motorcycle. We had the American Legion come last fall and give rides to our residents. Eugene was in heaven on that ride. It was something he talked about and remembered up until his passing.”


Ice cream was also a favorite of Voga’s, Cerka said. So Ed Perry from the Eldora, New Providence area will set up in the shelter house to make and serve soft ice cream. Rick Good of Good II Go in Zearing is supplying the ice cream mix for Perry. Zearing Health Care Center will furnish the hot dogs, chips and some ice cream toppings, and Jennifer Thomason with Just Jeeps & JJ’s Station is supplying water bottles and Gatorade.


The ride, which will start at 2 p.m., will have both American Legion members and Zylstra Harley Davidson combining their efforts to have enough motorcycles on hand for any of the 23 Zearing Health Care Center residents who want to ride. Cerka said last fall it was just the Legion that took part, so they are grateful to have the help from the Zylstra business out of Ames this summer’s event.


While people will hopefully come to take part in the ride and food, Cerka said it’s the perfect time for everyone to step inside for a quick tour of the newly revamped interior of the Zearing Health Care Center. She said recently, the Center has been undergoing work that involves all new flooring, new furniture, interior wall painting and so forth.


The celebration will finish with the Back Porch Pickers, who play at the Center frequently and are a favorite of the residents. They will perform outside in front of the building. The Pickers include Steve and Connie Chamberlain and Tom Schultz, who come from the Beeman, Conrad and Rhodes areas. They have a country format to their music, Cerka said, but they play some older rock and roll as well. The Pickers will begin playing at 4 p.m. for the residents and anyone else in the community who wants to listen.


Cerka said it is hoped that maybe this Eugene Voga Memorial Ride can become an annual event at the Care Center. Cerka thanks the family of Voga for their help with the event, both in helping serve food and in making the financial contribution needed for it to happen. “They are excited to honor the memory of their dad and grandpa in this way,” she said.