WEIRTON - It's another year and another challenge for a group of bicycle riders working to raise money to provide scholarships for Tri-State Christian Academy.
For the fourth year, a group of volunteers will be riding their bicycles for hundreds of miles using a series of recreational trails with the hope of helping out the local Christian school.
This year five individuals - the Rev. Marlin Hawley, George Miller, the Rev. Darrell Maze, Bruce Trushel and Darald Channing - will be riding a distance of 404 miles, trekking between Weirton and Cumberland, Md.
RAISING SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS — The five riders taking part in this year’s “404 Bike Ride,” as well as many of their supporters, gathered at the head of the Panhandle Trail Sunday to officially kick off the trip. The bicycle trip will include 404 miles, riding between Weirton and Cumberland, Md., and returning to Weirton, all to raise money for scholarship funds at Tri-State Christian Academy. - Craig Howell
Hawley, who, along with Miller, started the effort in 2010, recalled how it began, initially traveling 400 miles from Weirton to Washington, D.C. The next year, they began seeing new riders step forward and increased the distance to 500 miles, and last year went up to 600 miles with four members of the team.
This year, they went back to the original 400 miles, adding an additional four in honor of the fourth year for the ride.
He thanked all those who have backed them over the years and continue to help as they try to aid the school.
"We're thankful for the support," he said.
Trushel, among the veterans of the group, gave credit to Tom Straight and Herb Nolder, who have been the support team for the group since the beginning.
"We're blessed to have Herb and Mr. Straight," Trushel said. "We couldn't do it without them."
Channing, the newest rider to join, said he is looking forward to the journey and the fellowship, adding, however, they didn't get to begin training until later in the year. "It's going to make it a little rougher," Channing said.
Miller noted some of his own difficulty this year, explaining four months ago he had been fighting an infection in his left knee and had been told he may never regain full movement as a result. He said that wasn't going to stop him from taking part this year, though.
Tri-State Christian Academy Principal Jarrett Gum took a moment Sunday to thank the riders for their effort and encouraged prayers and support for them while on their journey.
For information on the ride, or to make a donation, contact either Tri-State Christian Academy at (724) 947-8722 or Mercy Baptist Church at (304) 723-0700.