Journey of Hope rolls into Marshalltown

After spending most of Sunday on a bicycle seat riding from Des Moines to Marshalltown, the 25 members of the Journey of Hope team were anxious to eat, drink some cold beverages, roll a few lines at Marshalltown’s Totem Bowl and make new friends.

Also looking forward to fun and fellowship were the team’s nine support members who accompany the cyclists in vans.

Eagerly awaiting the team’s visit were members of Marshall County ARC, made up of adults with disabilities.

“The Journey of Hope visit is the highlight of the year for our members,” said Jacey Stewart, an ARC volunteer.

A few minutes after the team arrived, the Totem Bowl resembled a busy winter night of league action, with dozens of ARC members bowling, eating or socializing with the cyclists.

It was the 26th annual visit to Marshalltown by members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, who are sponsored in part by PUSH America – a nonprofit philanthropic organization started by the fraternity.

The Marshalltown overnight stop is part of the group’s cross-country ride and they are nearly 2,000 miles into the trip with approximately 2,000 more to go.

“We are a little more than half-way there,” said Jeremy Osborne of Mount Pleasant, Mich. who attends Central Michigan University.

Osborne had taken a break to eat after bowling with ARC members.

Overall, the ride had gone well for the group, said Nick Brady, of San Francisco, the Journey of Hope project manager.

He said the team departed June 9 from San Francisco. They will end Aug. 5 in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Dubbins, of Aurora, Ill., a senior at the University of Iowa, said he liked the challenges the route offered, but looked forward to “friendship visits” such as bowling with ARC members after a day’s ride.

The friendship visits are events when the team and people with disabilities can enjoy activities together.

Dubbins and several of his teammates said mountains had proven to be the most challenging part of the trip.

David Iles of West Des Moines and a junior at the University of Iowa, said he worked his way into cycling “shape” the first two weeks of the ride and then one “finds their stride” the balance of the trip.

Marshalltown Mayor Tommy Thompson presented Brady with a copy of a proclamation honoring the fraternity for its contributions.

With the combined efforts of sponsors and individual team members, the 2013 Journey of Hope raised more than

$700,000 on behalf of people with disabilities.

Every cyclist commits to raising $5,500 on behalf of people with disabilities before the trip begins.

“This year the cyclists donated $900 to Camp Marshalltown, our summer camp, and we are very thankful,” Stewart said.

The Journey of Hope team spent Sunday night at a local hotel before departing early Monday morning.