It’s been more than a month since thousands of bicyclists on RAGBRAI pedaled through the northwestern Iowa town of Lytton, but the benefits are still rolling in.

Scott Matter, who helped organize Lytton’s events during the annual ride, says about $30,000 was raised that one day, money that will be split between helping to offset the cost of a new fire station and another local project. “One that people really rallied around is helping pay for a new community sign or digital sign,” Matter says. “With Lytton not having its own newspaper anymore, it’s a great way to let people know about what’s happening in town, whether it be a Legion meeting, a church supper, somebody’s anniversary or whatever. We don’t really have that and that’s something people are hoping we can contribute to.”

Lytton Mayor Jeff Ellerbrock says a member of the fire department’s board of trustees approached him shortly after the cyclists went through town on July 26th. “He came in all smiles and said, ‘Guess what? The fire station’s paid for,'” Ellerbrock says, laughing. “It just floored me. It was fantastic. I was just thrilled.”

Lytton RAGBRAI collected more than $15,000 earmarked for the fire station. Ellerbrock says one of the cyclists who stopped there during the ride remembered the town’s fund drive when he got home. “The fella’s name is Aaron Thompson and he lives in Chesapeake, Virginia,” Ellerbrock says. “He’s retired Navy, he was a SEAL for 30 years. He heard that we got the fire station out of debt and he still wanted to donate so he sent us $2,000 for Emanuel St. John’s Church in Lytton.”

In addition to the money raised by local organizations, another $54,000 has come in for local organizations. Matter says it took the entire community, and then some, pulling together to make it happen. More than 300 volunteers were in Lytton during RAGBRAI, a town with a population of only around 275. People from across Iowa and as far away as Florida came in to help out.

(By Chantelle Grove, KCIM, Carroll)