10-9-19 Ripon remembers dennis valstad

Two long time friends of the late Dennis Valstad say he truly is a hero whose memory will live on because of his genuine act of kindness.  Dennis’ story was featured last week on the CBS Evening news segment  “On the Road with Steve Hartman.”    Valstad died in July following a stroke after running a dry-cleaning business in Ripon for many years.  Rik and Helga Rikkers were neighbors of Valstad and went to the same church.  The Rikkers said they couldn’t believe it when shortly after Valstad’s death they received a letter from an attorney stating they would receive a share of his half-million dollar estate if they attended his funeral.  Rik Rikkers says Dennis was very active in the church bible study group which led to his commitment to his faith.  “That was just the tip of the iceberg, that $500,000.  There was a huge gift to the church, Kiwanis got some money, Rotary got money, Lions Club, and maybe other gifts we don’t even know about,”  the Rikkers told WFDL news in an exclusive interview.  Even with the recent excitement over the last few days, with the national spotlight,  Helga Rikkers says she hopes Dennis’ actions will have a lasting impact on the community.  “I think the more you think about it, and we’ve had time to think about it,  the more meaningful it becomes,”  Helga Rikkers said.  “It makes you think how can I continue that feeling that he had, that he has given us.”