GI Friendship Visit a Highlight for Journey of Hope


Two dozen bicyclists are taking a break from pedaling more than 4,000 miles across the country with a stop in Grand Island.

The Journey of Hope raises funds for Push America – a non-profit that helps people with disabilities. The Arc of Central Nebraska is hosting the riders Monday and Tuesday for a “friendship visit,” including a dance Monday night and activities at Ashley Park on Tuesday.

The 2014 Journey of Hope team has raised more than $500,000 for their cause, but say the awareness they promote as the pedal through deserts, mountains, hills and communities is just as important.

“One thing that our CEO actually said is that Journey of Hope is a bicycle ride across America for those who just wish to ride their back across the block,” says Kevin Bachar, the team’s leadership development director. “That just puts it in perspective of the amazing work that we do with our fraternity, our philanthropy of Push America.”

“We interact with thousands of people across the nation, it really shows communities that we’re all a part of one whole greater community, so to inspire other people to maybe change their ways or get involved is really the reason I’m doing this,” says cyclist Bryce Whitehill.

Whitehill got involved with the Journey team when he rushed for the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Colorado State University. The fraternity has made Push America it’s national philanthropic cause. Fellow cyclist Nick Horning says the ride was something he’d dreamed of doing since joining the fraternity at the University of Toledo in 2011.

“There’s millions of people who suffer with disabilities every day, I just feel like the awareness is not there, and to break the barrier of that awareness is huge for us,” says Horning.

The riders say their Grand Island arrival is one of the biggest and friendliest they’ve had yet as they’re more than halfway through their trek from California to Washington DC. Dozens welcomed them at the Midtown Holiday Inn, and Mayor Jay Vavricek declared June 30 “Journey of Hope Day.”