After 18 days and nearly 1,000 miles, we completed our bicycle journey from Fargo, ND to Denver, CO. Virgil and I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the many people we encountered along the way who provided encouragement, inspiration, contributions and a friendly smile along the way. As we reflect back, we had thousands of interactions from odd looks at breakfast that screamed, “who are these guys in bike shorts interrupting my morning coffee” to the countless pickup trucks that passed us with a friendly two finger wave. Even the trains that chugged by were kind enough to acknowledge our journey with the blow of their horn. It really was a community effort that brought us all the way home.
A big thank you to our terrific Curriculum Manager Mike Matoush for biking from Brighton into the Food Bank of the Rockies. Mike is originally from Brighton and was able to share with us a little more about his community. I was struck by the views of the mountains from this community making a transition from mostly rural to more progressively urban. The ride was rather challenging, primarily due to traffic – welcome to the city! Our pace car of family members did the best they could to guide us on our 19 mile ride, however the congestion created some frustration both for them and for other cars. Our lesson for next time is to employ the pace car for only the last 3-5 miles from our destination. Thank you again Amanda, Karen, Anna and Ben for taking such good care of us.
Once we arrived at the food bank, we were greeted with jammin’ music, signs and banners and a crowd of probably 30+ people. Team members and spouses of team members from The CE Shop, food bank employees as well as friends and family members cheered us in. It was a very warm and welcoming reception, we were very grateful to see the familiar friendly faces. The food bank staff was kind enough to provide a large group of us with a tour of the food bank…including specific information about the backpack program. The need for this program is enormous! We learned that for Adams County Public School District along, there is a need for 2,500 backpacks per week! PER WEEK! It’s heartbreaking to us that children in our great country have concerns about where their next meal might come from, to us this is just wrong. We gathered our team at The CE Shop in the afternoon where Virgil and I shared a few words of thanks for all of the support that was provided. We were asked to share a few of our stories, which, isn’t possible…because there are not few, there are many. They all share a common theme: There are more kind, caring, and generous people in this great land than anything else, and one by one, or together we can make a difference! I reminded the team of the need and the unique position we are in to support that need creating lasting change and impact for the communities we serve. This is true for all of us, doing our part collectively makes for large scale change. My sister Molly reminded me yesterday as we drove away from the food bank that it’s not just the funds we collected but the awareness that we raised that will have a positive trickle out result…a result that we won’t be able to measure in hard numbers but with faith and trust we must know that it is and will continue to happen.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the incredible opportunity that Bike For Backpacks provided, we are forever changed by the experience!
Michael & Virgil
PS: We will be tallying our the results of everyone’s giving and will provide an update just as soon as possible.