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West Bend man's 25-year running streak helps raise money for nonprofits

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A West Bend man's incredible decades-long running streak is being used for charitable giving this Christmas.

Pete Rettler has run at least a mile outside every day for the last 25 years.

"I've been blessed to have good health and good luck," he said.

This month, Rettler created the 25 Runs of Gratitude for United Way of Washington County, of which he's the board president.

Each day's run is a fundraiser for a different organization.

"We wanted to run [on Christmas] for Family Promise because homelessness happens every single day of the year," Rettler said. "Doesn't matter if it's Christmas or not."

Family Promise runs two homeless shelters in West Bend, helping dozens of people at any given time.

The organization relies on the United Way to operate, and leaders say the money Rettler raises will go toward basic needs like toilet paper, paper towels, food and clothing.

The goal for the 25 Runs of Gratitude was to raise $25,000. Rettler says he's exceeded that amount with a few days left to run.

On Christmas, the people he's helping expressed gratitude.

"Not many people know about this place or Family Promise and just by having Pete doing these runs it's bringing light to the severity of the homelessness problem," said Kris, a woman who's lived in a shelter for about a week.

Erin Petersen, the coordinated entry lead for Family Promise, says the facilities are virtually always at capacity.

"My son's father dealt with homelessness, mental health and addiction so this is a very personal mission for myself," she said.

As Rettler's everyday activity has become a meaningful act of holiday giving, he surprisingly admits he actually doesn't like running.

"I honestly don't enjoy it," he said. "I can tell you that in the 25 years, there's been maybe five times I've come back and I'm like 'God that was a great run.'"

In spite of that, Kris says people like Rettler are inspiring this Christmas.

If you'd like to lend a helping hand to Family Promise, click here: http://familypromisewc.org/how-to-help/

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