Three bikers raising funds for village ministry in Haiti
by Sherrie Norris
Patrick Madigan, Josh Henderson and Brandon Kelley pedaled out of Afton, Va., Saturday with plans to reach the end of their destination near Cherokee "in about seven or eight days," Madigan said on Wednesday.
A graduate of North Carolina State University from Waynesville, Madigan works with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Appalachian State University and decided to organize a fundraising project with a far-reaching impact.
His buddies, both middle school science teachers, were up for the summer challenge and all were eager to get on their way for a good cause.
"We talked, a long time ago, about biking the Blue Ridge Parkway," Madigan said. "At first, we were going to take in the Skyland Drive route, as well, but we've recently decided just to do the parkway."
It was an Easter visit to The People's Church of God Mission in Pont Sondé, Haiti -- earlier established by the parents of a close friend and colleague -- that led Madigan to convince his friends to ride for a cause.
The mission is doing a lot of great things in the impoverished village, Madigan said, including establishing schools within the churches -- four so far, which are making a huge difference in the lives of children.
"Many of the kids are off the streets now, whereas before the schools were built, they were just running around aimlessly," he said. "And, as they got older, they were getting into trouble."
During his recent spring visit to the mission, Madigan helped distribute student report cards.
"It was awesome to see their response," he said.
With several projects in progress through the ministry, Madigan said he and his biking buddies decided to raise money for the organization's goat farm.
"The leaders are hoping to become self-sustaining by raising goats and selling them to the village for milk and meat," he said. "We chose to put the money we raise toward helping them build stables for the goats."
The ministry's goal is to have about 200 goats on site, Madigan said.
Money from the sale of goats will help support the various projects of the ministry, he said, which includes plans to build a high school.
The 469-mile ride is expected to be more than a scenic adventure for the three men, who, with a support vehicle in convoy, will cover about 65 miles a day, Madigan said.
"We will camp and prepare our own meals along the way and rotate in and out of the vehicle as needed for rest," he said. "And, I'm sure we will enjoy the beauty of nature as we travel, but our vision is much bigger than just that."
While the church and its outreach programs have made it this far on donations, Madigan said, "We feel very strongly about doing our part to raise awareness and financial support for them and their work in Haiti. Anything that the public can do to help us will be greatly appreciated."
Madigan hopes to organize a trip for students to Haiti next summer.
To donate or pledge money, contact Patrick Madigan and his team via email at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/brr2013 or through Paypal account (email@example.com)