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Havelock News Gives Bike Tour Some Love

June 22, 2010

As you may have read in the day two recap of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour, the day’s ride was a bit bumpy (quite bumpy, actually!). This caused delays for both the team and the fine folks awaiting their arrival in Havelock – including Reporter Ken Buday of the Havelock News.

Buday rolled with the punches and showed up after 5pm on a Friday (two hours later than expected) to cover the riders and the cause they were so committed to. Kudos to Ken for being so patient – and for such an excellent write-up, which appeared in today’s edition of the paper.

Read the words and see the pictures right here.

The Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour in Pictures: Gratitude at the End of A Long Journey

June 21, 2010

The Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour in Pictures: Ride Kicks off Smoothly!

June 21, 2010

Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour Coverage: The Jacksonville Daily News

June 20, 2010

Jacksonville Daily News Photographer Don Bryan takes a photo of TLG at the finish.

Reporter Hope Hodge and Photographer Don Bryan of the Jacksonville Daily News filed a terrific story on the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour. TLG thanks this pair of media pros for coming out in the rain and doing such a great job!

You can read all about it here.

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Day Three Recap: A Warm Welcome … & Our Heartfelt Thanks to You

June 20, 2010

The riders at the end of their 230 mile journey.

After the mayhem of Catfish Lake Road on the afternoon of day two, the team climbed back aboard their bikes and put in the final pedal strokes to Jacksonville! The final leg of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour started in Havelock and headed south by Camp Lejeune to Marine FCU’s headquarters location.

The riders, who had SFC Andy McCaffrey along for the trip, added another Andy in Havelock. Capt. Andy Davidson, a member of the US Navy and a Hope for the Warriors rider, joined us for the final day’s ride. He was joined by several other Hope for the Warriors riders who joined TLG about five miles from the ending point of the tour.

The third day was most uneventful, and a few rain showers helped to keep the temperature in check later in the morning when the ride was nearing the end.

Dozens of people gathered in Jacksonville to welcome the team at the end of the tour.

Meanwhile in Jacksonville, dozens of people from Hope for the Warriors and Marine FCU gathered to welcome the riders as they came off the road after the 230 mile adventure. They were joined by dignitaries from Camp Lejeune, as well as John Phelps, the artist who is designing a sculpture for the Hope for the Warriors Care Center at Camp Lejeune. Phelps’ son Chance was killed in Iraq in 2004. Chance Phelps was the subject of the remarkable movie Taking Chance, which aired on HBO last year. A portion of the funds raised by credit unions will be used for the sculpture to be placed outside the Care Center.

Tired legs and other aches were quickly forgotten as the riders were served a hearty lunch and honored for their 230-mile achievement. But really, this is the achievement of credit unions and credit union organizations that wanted to support a terrific organization that is meeting the needs of severely injured service members.

Raising $161,000 in nine months — and a good chunk of that total coming in less than a week — is the real accomplishment. That accomplishment belongs to each of you, and will provide hope today and in the future to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have given so much for their country.

From the time we began the this journey in Fayetteville and all the way to Jacksonville at the end, TLG was warmly received and thanked. Our only wish is that the many people who believe in this cause and supported it so generously could have been along for the ride — because all the thanks belong to you.

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Day Two Recap: A Dust-up on the Way to Havelock

June 20, 2010

"Anybody seen Team Little Guy??"

Day two of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour was, in a word, eventful. After successfully manhandling the broiling sun on the trip from Fayetteville to Goldsboro on day one, the team awoke Friday to a bit cooler and less humid weather to start the day.

The team further capitalized on the break in the weather by starting a bit earlier than planned, and before Noon, the riders had already chewed up half the day’s route and sat enjoying lunch by a shady mill pond in the town of Trenton.

If the day had ended there, we’d be sunshine and smiles over 45 miles. But biking, just like life, doesn’t always hand you the crisp, neat Hollywood ending all the time. But it can make that ending all the more satisfying.

Leaving Trenton, Agnoli asks, "What could possibly go wrong?"

And I’d say the members of Team Little Guy were more than satisfied with ending day two.

As the morning pressed into the afternoon, the bright summer sun turned the comfortable start to the day into a fleeting memory – and the humidity that hangs over the coastal areas of NC started to bear down as the team pressed south toward Havelock and the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point. The support van raced ahead of the riders, taking the four lane comfort of US Highway 17  to the outskirts of New Bern and then picking up US Highway 70 and heading south to intercept the riders on the eastern side of the Croatan National Forest.

The riders, meanwhile, were taking the “road less traveled” from the small town of Maysville to the west side of the Croatan NF, where they would cross over and intercept the van outside Havelock. At mid-afternoon, the van and riders were separated by 17 miles and just one road — Catfish Lake Road.

(Cue dramatic, twist-in-plot music here.)

The support van headed down Catfish Lake Road, which quickly went from pavement to dirt with a smattering of gravel. The resulting dust kicked up by the support RV was one thing. The “helpful” washboard texture of the road made driving over it bumpy.

How bumpy? If anyone down that way finds my dental fillings, please slip them in an envelope and mail them back to me. Thanks!

The entire RV rattled as if it would come apart, even though Slack kept the speed down to about 10-12 mph. When locals breezed by in pickup trucks (what must they have been thinking??), giant plumes of dust would envelop the RV.

As we plodded along, my phone suddenly rang. It was E-man, who asked simply, “Where are you guys?” Replying with easily the greatest understatement of the ride, I said, “Catfish Lake Road. It’s slow going.”

Our riders, who were zipping along on the other side of the same road at about the same speed as the RV, got a kick out of that one.

So there we were – the RV heading west and the riders heading east. 17 miles of gravel, dust and washboard. Nothing to do but close the gap, pick up the riders and head back east.

About an hour and a half later, we were back on the pavement and turned the riders loose again. Just 10 miles to go until the riders reached the Marine Federal Credit Union branch in Havelock. Or put another way, just nine miles to go until Agnoli’s tire went flat. It was that kind of day.

TLG - dusty, but happy to be in Havelock

Nevertheless, TLG safely reached the end of day two a little rattled (literally!) and two or so hours later than planned. But the team was thankful for the folks at Marine FCU in Havelock who rolled with the punches and gave us a warm welcome, complete with snacks, when we arrived. The team was also very grateful to Ken Buday of the Havelock News for sticking around, talking to the guys and working up a story on the ride and Hope for the Warriors.

The team handled the days twists beautifully and went to Crabby Patty’s to have fish dinners and to laugh about the afternoon’s escapades.

No one had catfish.

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Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour: Meet Andy McCaffrey

June 17, 2010

[Vimeo = http://www.vimeo.com/12658723%5D

SFC Andy McCaffrey is riding with Team Little Guy during the 230 mile Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour. Andy is a hard-nosed, dedicated cyclist who has definitely been setting the pace for the team along the journey. He’s a great guy and we’re pleased to have him join us for the tour!

In the above video, Andy talks about his involvement with Hope for the Warriors.

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Day One Recap: A Sweaty, Successful Ride to Goldsboro

June 17, 2010

Riders and well-wishers mingled just prior to the start of the tour

Despite a blazing eastern NC sun, Team Little Guy pedaled hard for 83 miles and successfully completed day one of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour. Boosted by the incredible outpouring of support by credit unions at the NC Credit Union League Annual Meeting, the team rode out from Ft. Bragg this morning and made the quick trek over to Pope AFB, about five miles away. From there, TLG rode out into the countryside of eastern NC and had a very quick lunch in Dunn, NC.

As the riders pressed on toward Goldsboro and the day’s completion point, the temperatures rose into the mid 90s and the humidity added an extra insult. “It was the toughest 82 miles I’ve ridden in my short but illustrious biking career,” said David “Bubba” Gelly, who probably spoke for everyone on the trek.

Now THIS is a support vehicle!

The four person team of John Radebaugh, Eric Gelly, Bubba Gelly and Ed Agnoli had two very special guests along the way today. MSG Dean Bissey rode the short leg to Pope AFB this morning. Bissey is actively involved with Hope for the Warriors and boosted the spirits of the entire group.

TLG is pleased that SFC Andy McCaffrey will riding the entire 230 mile trek to Jacksonville. McCaffrey is a member of the Special Forces, is a stud athlete and a lively addition to the crew. He is actively involved with Hope for the Warriors, having lost an arm in Afghanistan. We’re pleased to have this Warrior Hero on the trip across eastern NC.

The credit unions along the way have been absolutely wonderful! From the sendoff by representatives of Ft. Bragg FCU and Bragg Mutual FCU in Fayetteville, to the wonderful reception put together in Goldsboro at NC Community FCU, credit unions have shown their support and encouragement of the team and Hope for the Warriors along the way. We are exceptionally grateful to each and every one of you along the route, as well as the folks across the Carolinas who are pulling for the team along the way.

The team at Pope AFB - one of three military installations the riders passed by on day one!

The team is settling in for the night in an RV camp near Selma, and will ride out early tomorrow morning toward Havelock and the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. The team is exceptionally grateful for all the contributions toward this effort, as well as the kind words throughout the last several months – and as we encounter people along the way. Thank you credit unions – and thanks to the men and women who fight to keep us safe.

Ride Little Guy Ride!

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Day One: A Brief Update …

June 17, 2010

Just a quick post to let everyone know that Day One of the Hope for the Warriors Bike Tour is complete and the team is resting at the RV camp after a grueling 83 miles on the bike.

More details about a very eventful (and very wonderful) day one a little later this evening. Rest Little Guy Rest!

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A Very Special Guest – A Wonderful Announcement

June 16, 2010

The business portion of the 75th Annual Meeting in Pinehurst has just concluded, and the final fundraising tally has just been announced. After a very moving presentation by Robin Kelleher and Chris Hedgcorth of Hope for the Warriors last evening, credit unions proudly walked up to the microphones this morning to announce their gifts to the organization.

Before doing so, LTC Thomas Heyden made an appearance live via Skype from Iraq to say hello to the audience. Heyden thanked everyone for their cards, letters and packages of support in the months he has been deployed – he also encouraged the team to ride hard to Jacksonville.

Then it was time to present the final donations to the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation. One by one, people stepped to the microphone and shared how they had come to raise the funds. One chapter held raffles, another chapter held a bike ride in March. One credit union had a special board meeting last night to vote on a special contribution.

Gifts of all sizes flowed in, including a $35,000 contribution from Palmetto Cooperative Services and $43,000 from Marine Federal Credit Union. But every dollar counted and every gift was very meaningful.

In the end, credit unions combined to blow by the $100,000 goal by contributing an amazing $161,000 to Hope for the Warriors!

With a 230 mile bike ride starting tomorrow, $161,000 equals about $700 per mile. More fundamentally, the numbers provide hope, encouragement and support to the men and women who have given so much of themselves in the cause of freedom.

Thank you, credit unions – and Ride Little Guy Ride!

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