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NRHS class of 1988 alumni come together to support youth mental health initiatives

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When three local surgeons learned a fundraising event had just fallen short of its goal to raise $40,000 for local youth mental health resources, they stepped up to the challenge.

Lynnelle Gabriel, DPM, Podiatry; Michael Melby, MD, General Surgery; and Nicholas Weiss, MD, Orthopedics, Twin Cities Orthopedics, are all alumni of New Richmond High School’s (NHRS) class of 1988.

They heard that the Westfields Hospital & Clinic Foundation Annual Golf Outing at the New Richmond Golf Club on August 6 had just missed its $40,000 target – and felt strongly enough about the cause to step in.

“Our community has truly felt the need for additional resources to prevent and treat mental illness following a year of devastating tragedies among our youth,” said Gabriel. “When I learned the event was just short of its goal, I challenged my colleagues and former classmates to join me in support of our kids.”

Challenge accepted

Colleagues Melby and Weiss pledged to help the foundation reach its goal by joining Gabriel. Now, all three doctors are challenging other NRHS alumni to join them.

“It’s pretty unique that the three of us all went on to medical school and residencies elsewhere and then returned to our home community. That didn’t happen without great support growing up in a community that cares about its youth,” said Melby.

Weiss added: “With homecoming taking place on September 21, we thought it would be a great opportunity to extend the challenge to our former classmates and encourage other alumni to organize and challenge their own class.”

Class donations may be made at westfieldsfoundation.com. “We want to recognize anyone accepting the class challenge for mental health initiatives,” said Jo Wrich, Foundation Director. “Just identify the year you graduated when you make your donation. Classes or individuals who donate $1,000 or more will be recognized on our donor wall,” said Wrich.

NOTE: The attached photo shows NRHS Class of 1988 classmates, now local surgeons (left to right) Michael Melby, MD, General Surgery; Lynnelle Gabriel, DPM, Podiatry (wearing her NRHS letter jacket); and Nicholas Weiss, MD, Orthopedics as they extend a challenge to former classmates and other classes to support local youth mental health resources.