Two months after the deadly tornado struck Alabama, a team of six cyclists trekked across Alabama for two and a half days, logging over 245 miles and raising about $9,000.

They cycled from May 3 through May 5. The cyclists, all from the Auburn/Opelika area, were Scott Middleton, Herb Rabren, Mark Smith, John Stevenson, Tom Meagher and myself. 

They cycled for two reasons. First was to raise funds being used for repairing homes for people whose were damaged in the recent tornado. Second, to raise awareness about the chronic housing needs in some of the poorest areas of our state, including Lee, Macon and Sumter counties where Alabama Rural Ministry, ARM, serves.

Their ride covered 85, 96 and 56 miles, respectively, for three days. A “spin class” at Moore’s Mill Fitness Club had three members log 245 miles over the course of six weeks! Those participating in the spin competition were Dara Hosey, Joy Branch, and Tara Jones of Moore’s Mill Fitness Club. 

The 10th Cycle of Service benefited ARM, a home-repair and housing ministry based in Opelika and working through the Black Belt of Alabama. Most of the households ARM serves are led by the elderly, disabled or single parents who live on limited or fixed incomes.

ARM is also providing repair for our veterans. ARM is working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to also provide recovery assistance to tornado survivors through helping repair homes and hosting volunteer work groups. ARM has been serving in response to the tornado since it hit on March 3.

This year’s goal was $25,000, which will be applied to the cost of purchasing the construction materials the organization uses in repairing homes for up to 60 families.

This includes homes hit by the tornado such as the Frazer family and others with chronic home repair needs like Ms. Middlebrooks who needs a new roof on her home. Her husband had a severe physical disability preventing him from working and Ms. Middlebrooks is the sole source of income for her family.

The cyclists enjoyed riding so they can help her.

Cyclists rode for five to eight hours a day. Profiles of the riders can be found at cycleofservice.arm-al.org, and pictures are on the Alabama Rural Ministry Facebook page.

The ride began in Cuba, Alabama, and traversed though Selma, Montgomery, Tuskegee and finally the 14th Street Bridge in Phenix City at the Chattahoochee River.

The riders stayed overnight in churches who also supported rest stops and meals. For more information about the ride event, go to cycleofservice.arm-al.org  or www.facebook.com/Bikebama.

 

Lisa Pierce is the executive director of Alabama Rural Ministry and ordained as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. She is an Auburn University alum who loves working with people in rural communities and learning of their amazing stories.

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