Four students cycle across America on a Journey of Hope

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 28, 2006 – On Saturday, Aug. 5, two of the four members of the Delta Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at Virginia Tech who are participating in the Journey for Hope biking event, will pass through Blacksburg en route to their final destination in Washington, D.C.

As part of the fraternity's Push America ongoing public service initiative, the Journey for Hope is an annual fundraising event to support grants for persons with disabilities. Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members from chapters across the country cycle thousands of miles through more than 30 states to spread a message of acceptance and understanding for people with disabilities.

Virginia Tech's Journey for Hope participants will be recognized on the main stage at 4:45 p.m. during the annual Steppin’ Out festival on August 5 in downtown Blacksburg. The university and Blacksburg communities are encouraged to turn out to show their support to these dedicated young men. By the time the two cyclists arrive in Blacksburg, they will be on day 67 of their journey and will have traveled 3,243 miles.

A total of four Pi Kappa Phi members from Virginia Tech each raised more than $5,000 to participate in the Journey of Hope, and members of the fraternity from across the country annually raise more than half a million dollars to support the fundraising effort.

The four cyclists from Virginia Tech are divided between two cross-country teams, with two cyclists following what is named the Trans America route and two others on the Northern Route.

Matt Widders, a senior in material science and engineering from Dublin, Ohio, and John Caldwell, a junior in electrical engineering from Highlands Ranch, Colo., are the two cyclists who will be going through Blacksburg on August 5. They began their Trans America journey in Portland, Or. on May 31.

On the Northern Route, Randy Morgan, a 2006 graduate in industrial and systems engineering from Newport News, Va., and Scott Campbell, a sophomore architecture and Spanish major from Portsmouth, Va., began their adventure in San Francisco, Ca. on June 7.

Both of the teams will complete the ride together at the United States Capitol Building in Washington D.C. on August 12.

Rather than spend their summers on the beach, these students elected to embark on a grueling yet rewarding mission that includes cycling an average of 75 miles each day through all types and extremes of weather and terrain. However, their journey does not end there. The student cyclists are also involved in activities and events across the country, supporting people with disabilities and promoting awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

“It is wonderful to see members of our Greek community so actively involved in serving others,” said Edward Spencer, associate vice president for Student Affairs. “It is my hope that the Blacksburg community will be there to greet these young men and applaud their significant accomplishments.”

The mission of Push America is “Building leaders of tomorrow by serving people with disabilities today.” Members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity gain hands-on experience working with all types of people and seek to enhance the lives of those with disabilities. The Journey of Hope cyclists also chronicle their journey with daily entries posted on the Pi Kappa Phi Push America website.