The Midwest Region lost one of its skiers on May 22, 2014. Michael Gerken passed away from cancer with his family at the age of 26. Michael was collegiate skier for the Iowa State Cyclones, but made an impression on everyone he met. I had an opportunity to meet Michael on a couple occasions and I remember him as a great person and someone that was always volunteering. Tributes on Facebook on May 22 included:

“Team Midwest has lost one of its own. Iowa State Cyclone Michael Gerken touched the lives of so many. Gerken was always the first to hop in the boat in the morning, the only one to come close to landing that 2 ski backflip, and for sure the only one to have built his own jump skis and landed a jump on them. He will forever be in our hearts and on the water.” Maddy Baldwin

“I count my blessings every day for all the wonderful things and people in my life. Today my heart hurts for the Gerken family for the loss of Michael. Michael was one of the happiest people I have ever met and one of my best instructors ever. I will never forget his outgoing personality and his ability to make any student smile, no matter the age. We should all try to be like that. If I must find good in losing a friend so young, it is that he made so many people happy. Your smiles will always decorate our ski school lunch tables Michael Gerken! We love you and will miss you.” April Coble Eller

More information on Michael can be found at
Michael Gerken

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