Getting to know Jonnie’s Goodguys
Inspire Arts and Music is so fortunate to have a relationship with the wonderful Jonnie’s Goodguys organization. Please read a bit about the Goodguys and learn about the wonderful work and services they are providing. We hope to see you at the 3rd annual Street beat 5k this summer in Indianapolis at DCI Championships this summer and are so thankful the Goodguys got behind this event!
1.Who is Jonnie?
On Nov. 13, 2005, we lost a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. Jonathan Miller collapsed at work from an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm and was gone. An autopsy later revealed a dissected aorta, that lead to cardiac tamponade as the cause of death. Even though Jon wasn’t really an avid runner, he had just signed up to participate in the One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon with his wife that following spring. The race holds a special meaning for them since he had proposed to her at the finish line in 2002. Shortly after Jon’s passing, friends and family decided to run and walk The Mini so Jon’s widow wouldn’t have to do it alone. We ran. We walked. We began socializing and remembering the great times had with Jon. It helped us heal.
2.Who are the Goodguys?
“Goodguys” came from Jon’s favorite Purdue Football T-shirt. We noticed he wore it in several pictures we had compiled. So naturally, we became (Jonnie’s) Goodguys, and we continue to do good stuff, run, walk & move to make a difference.
Because of Jon’s sudden passing, it isn’t known what led to his aortic aneurysm and eventual dissection. It has been speculated by doctors and others that a genetic level mutation was responsible. Thoracic Aortic Disease and Marfan Syndrome fall into this category and aortic dissection is a very common outcome. If Jon had known about any such disorder, there would have been steps he could have taken to ensure that he would be here today with his wife and daughter.
Jonnie’s Goodguys wants to advocate and educate our community about these lesser known “genetic syndromes”. We don’t just run! You’ll find us at the Rathskeller for Polka Boy, rallying behind our Indianapolis Colts, cheering on Star United and volunteering where help is needed. We want you to join us! Advocate & Educate! Do Good Stuff!
3.What is the connection between Jonnie’s Goodguys and the marching arts world?
Now that you know how we became a running club, why Street Beat? What’s the DCI connection? Well, Jon, the Goodguys co-founders and several members marched together in the Star of Indiana. As any drum corps member knows, spending summers together makes you a family. We would not be the people we are today had it not been for our involvement in drum corps. The Goodguys want kids to have the opportunity to experience this for themselves and have offered scholarships for corps memberships since 2006.
4.Can you describe the evolution of the Street beat 5K and your relationship with Inspire Arts and Music?
In 1993 some east coast kids came to Star of Indiana. Rudy Gowern was involved with Inspire and knew that the Goodguys could help get this race up and going, so he made a call and introduced us to David Stauffer, who is in the Indy area. We sat down with David in 2014 to discuss Street Beat and knew this was a great opportunity for us to share our knowledge and our passion to give back to the drum corps community.
5.What other type of fundraisers or foundations are you supporting and collaborating with?
A year after becoming Jonnie’s Goodguys, Amy Miller received the Celebration of Life award from the One America 500 Mini Marathon. We started to see that we could “Do Good Stuff and be more than a local running club that gets together to honor Jon.
In 2010 we were invited to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon by The National Marfan Foundation. In 2013 our Vice President got accepted into the John Ritter Foundation Team Ritter for the New York City Marathon and has served as team captain for the past two years. We have formed a relationship with Amy Yasbeck, John Ritter’s widow, and participate in not only the NYC marathon but in the LA marathon as well. In 2014 our President’s husband, who also marched in drum corps and grew up with Jon, was recognized by the American Heart Association for making great strides and lifestyle choices after surviving a massive heart attack at the age of 40. In 2016 we are gold sponsors for Riley’s Run, a race that benefits the John Ritter Foundation and Riley, a 12 year old girl who was born with a bicuspid aortic valve which has led to an aortic aneurysm.
The Goodguys became an official 501c3 in 2014, thus opening more doors for us to expand our fundraising efforts. We sell our t-shirts and sweat wicking headbands and rubber bracelets for a small profit, but our primary fundraiser is a music benefit concert and auction. One of Jon’s favorite outdoor venues in Indianapolis donates their facility for us to showcase local talent. While we have only done this for 2 years we are pleased that we have raised nearly $10,000 for The John Ritter Foundation.
We hope to increase our fundraising efforts in 2016, as one of our goals is to provide vouchers for anyone wanting a heart scan across the country that may not be able to afford them, as they have saved the lives of 2 of our Goodguys! These are available through most hospitals for $49.00
6.Tell us a little bit about your Board of Directors.
Amy Milller Reusze, Chairman of the Board. Amy is an outpatient physical therapist. A graduate of IU, Amy married Jonathan Miller in 2002 and was blessed with the birth of her daughter Alexandria in 2005. Tragically, Jonathan died suddenly from an aortic aneurysm in 2005. The love and support of close family and friends and her adoration for Alex sustained her. Amy found love again in and ultimately gained a step-son when she married Kurt Reusze in 2009. She, Kurt, Alex, Samual and Flapjack (their dog) reside in Fishers, IN.
Andi Solero, President of the Board. Andi is a mother of two, and a Title 1 Aide in the Brentwood Elementary School. She is an avid runner and volunteer. She marched with Jon for three years in the Star of Indiana Drum and Bugle Corps. Andi took on the responsibility of getting the Goodguys established as a non-profit charity. Andi’s husband, Dan, grew up with Jon in Kendallville, IN. Dan suffered a massive heart attack in 2012 as a result of Familial Hypocholesterolemia. Andi recognized the early heart attack signs and ultimately saved Dan’s life. Andi then began another crusader volunteering with the American Heart Association. Andi has completed 10 half-marathons and 2 full marathons.
Ed Cooning IV, Vice President. Ed is a musician and runner. He marched with Jon in Star of Indiana and was Jon’s roommate for 3 years. Ed never ran a race prior to 2006 but since has finished over 40 half-marathons, 16 marathons, 1 ultra-marathon and 1 triathlon. He has run all 6 world marathon majors. He loves going to concerts and is an Indianapolis Colts season ticket holder. He is also a Goodguy and dies his hair Jonnie blonde for every Indy Mini Marathon.
Jessie Merenda, Secretary. Jessie met Jon through her sister as they had marched Star of Indiana together. Jessie was with her sister when they got the call that Jon had died. After her participation in the 2010 Star of Indiana Alumni Corp her involvement with Jonnie’s Goodguys took off. She has always been passionate about volunteering in the community and about athletics and fitness. In 2011, she became a “runner” with the Goodguys and began running going from the “couch to 5K” to half-marathons in no time. She is a project manager by trade so a perfect fit as secretary.
Caroline Gredler, Treasurer. Caroline is a runner! She met Ed and subsequently the Goodguys at the NYC Marathon as a member of Team Ritter. She lost her husband unexpectedly from an aortic dissection while he wa serving overseas. Their girls were only one and three at the time. They have since been back home with family and friends in Fishers, IN. Raising funds and awareness as a charity runner and Treasurer has been healing and inspiring to make a difference in the community. She is now approaching her third marathon and working in the emergency management field.
7.Where can people go to make donations, follow the Gooodguys, get involved and stay informed of the initiatives and campaigns supported by the Goodguys?
The Goodguys can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. Our website is jonniesgoodguys.org. We are working with Indiana University school of Business to revise our scholarship application, which will be available on our website by mid March. Donations can be made via paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org.