The Walk to End Alzheimer’s has become near and dear to Kristin Drain’s heart ever since her mother’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. PHOTO COURTESY KRISTIN DRAIN

FOLLOWING THE CALLS TO HELP

RESORT TAX’S KRISTIN DRAIN MAINTAINS A DIVERSIFIED VOLUNTEER PORTFOLIO

Kristin Drain allows for life to guide her to volunteer pursuits, whether the appeal from a friend for help, her mother’s medical diagnosis or the adoption of a fluffy golden retriever. Her volunteer efforts and work have made her a familiar face to many in the community.

Over the last decade she has worked for Moonlight Basin, the banking industry and now for Big Sky Resort Area District. Her varied volunteer interests serve as a way for her to pay homage to the volunteerism of her grandparents and parents. Childhood memories of things like riding around helping her grandmother deliver meals to the elderly bring her joy. It is a longstanding family legacy that when you can help – you should. You do.

When certain life challenges presented themselves, like the diagnosis of her mother with Alzheimer’s around five years ago, she sought to create something good with volunteer pursuits. “There’s not a lot I can do to help her, but I felt like I had to do something,” she said. She did the walk to end Alzheimer’s in Bozeman and will be participating in “The Longest Day” on June 20. During the event anyone participating can do anything they like, but it is on the longest day of the year – to symbolize the fight against the darkness that is Alzheimer’s, she explained.

Drain has since become a Montana Chapter board member for the organization. She wants to take that effort even further and create a local Alzheimer’s support group in Big Sky. “Whatever we can do to get that going would be great. A lot of people need support in different ways and it’s good to be able to connect over this – even if it’s virtually right now,” she said.

Four years ago, when a fluffy golden-furred kind-hearted canine named Birdie came into her life, she knew the pup had the perfect temperament to be a service dog. “She just loves people and loves getting attention from people. We went through a little training program and she did an obedience test and we started doing visits at Highgate Senior living and we were visiting the hospital in Big Sky,” she said.

COVID-19 has put a damper on the volunteer pursuits of Drain and Birdie, but they are looking forward to bringing smiles to residents and patients again. The longest volunteer pursuit she has undertaken – spanning eight years – is being a Child Advancement Project (CAP) mentor. Julie Grimm came into the bank where she was working and recruited her. She has now mentored two Big Sky children and considers that volunteer pursuit fun, easy and rewarding.

More information can be found at www.alz.org/montana

For support or help, she encourages people to reach out to the Alzheimer’s Association via alz.org or the 24/7 helpline 1-800-272-3900

Drain’s “The Longest Day” fundraising website: http://act.alz.org/goto/formindi

Information about becoming a CAP mentor can be found at allthrive.org

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