“Dr. Bob” Remembered in Trail Rest Area Dedication Ceremony
by Grant Rodgers, The Des Moines Register
At 8 a.m., as the temperature sat just below freezing, a group of 22 cyclists gathered in Des Moines’ Ashworth Park to make the chilly ride to Martensdale.
They rode to honor Dr. Bob Breedlove, known simply as “Dr. Bob,” a Des Moines orthopedic surgeon and avid cyclist who was killed in 2005.
Following the morning ride, around 45 people gathered in the park for the official dedication of the Breedlove Memorial Rest Area.
The rest area, which sits along the Bill Riley trail, features a sign telling Breedlove’s story that is inscribed with his favorite quote, “It’s another day in paradise.” The project was completed over a year ago using memorial funds donated by the Breedlove family to the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department.
Breedlove was struck by a truck in June, 2005 in Colorado while riding in the Race Across America. The park was a fitting place for the memorial, as Breedlove rode the along the trail to Martensdale almost every day, said his wife, Gretchen Breedlove, 59.
In the short ceremony, Gretchen Breedlove spoke to the crowd about her husband’s dedication to his friends and family.
“He contributed a lot to the community, to his patients, to his family, to his friends and I think everyone who knew him loved him and admired him,” she said.
In his address to the crowd, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie held Breedlove up as a positive example for the community. While he did not know the surgeon well, Cownie said, Breedlove’s passion for cycling and fitness are the legacy he left behind.
“He did set a path for all of us to follow. A healthy lifestyle, not only for himself, but for his family, and what a great model for us to follow,” Cownie said.
During his life, Breedlove was a strong advocate for increased trail development, said Ben Page, Des Moines’ interim parks and recreation director. The surgeon’s advocacy continues to be well-known by parks and recreation professionals throughout Central Iowa, Page said.
After the ceremony, a group of riders set out along the Bill Riley trail, headed for a lunch at the YMCA Healthy Living Center in Clive.
All of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Livestrong Cancer Survivor Rehabilitation Program at the center and to the Walnut Creek YMCA.