WHAT'S HAPPENING: Everybody Needs a Fran

Fran Hertzman, Founder, Bridging, Inc.

Fran Hertzman, Founder, Bridging, Inc.

We have had the pleasure of working with some really fascinating people in this business, and without question, one of our absolute favorites is Fran Heitzman. Fran is a 93-year-old dynamo who has tried – and failed – to retire three times. He prefers to be roaming the warehouse at Bridging, Inc., the Bloomington-based non-profit he founded over 30 years ago.

Bridging provides basic household items such as dishes and furniture for families transitioning out of homelessness. Each year, Bridging continues to bring hope and stability to over 4,000 local households in need and has grown to become the largest furniture bank in North America with locations in Bloomington and Roseville.

Twenty-one years ago, Nemer Fieger created our signature yearly event SUBWAY® Bedrace for Bridging. The day involves teams of four people dressed in costumes racing down the tubing slope at Buck Hill on queen-sized mattresses. This unique annual event attracts not only a lot of participants, but also a whole lot of spectators to cheer on the teams. After the racing, people enjoy live music followed by an awards ceremony complete with prizes.

Because of our existing relationship with Fran, we knew immediately that we wanted Bridging to be our charity partner. The 21st SUBWAY® Bedrace for Bridging was last week and we are thrilled to say it was another successful event that raised money for Bridging clients.

All registration fees, donations and funds raised by teams directly support Bridging. In 2018, more than 140 teams raised more than $113,000 and since the event’s inception, more than $1 million has been raised for Bridging.

SUBWAY® Bring a Blanket Collection is another event we orchestrate yearly. In its 18th year, this event encourages the public to bring a new or gently-used clean blanket for donation. The first 100 donors receive concert tickets, movie passes or Subway gift cards.

In addition to the SUBWAY® Bedrace for Bridging, we have paired Bridging with other clients, such as the 10,000 Lakes Concours D’Elegance and Slumberland, among others.

Fran clearly is an inspiration to hundreds of people, including us, and every time we see him, we’re reminded of the value of serving our community.

Nemer Fieger