Ann Cox and her three children — Elena, Olivia and Owen — were on a mission, and they weren’t going to let the coronavirus stop them from raising money for an orphanage in Haiti.
The way they saw it, a lot was riding on the family’s bike trip.
It’s something they had done together in recent summers. It not only was for a good cause, but it was fun and fulfilling. The weeklong trips would see over a dozen cyclists leaving from destinations in Michigan and Illinois and pedaling their way back to the Lima area. Sponsors would pledge a donation for each mile they rode.
“Organizing it involved going around and contacting a lot of churches, seeing if we could spend the night in churches and things like that. With the virus, it was just too much and was canceled,” Ann said.
While the ride was called off, the needs of the children in Haiti remained.
The orphanage — HIS Home for Children — was established 19 years ago by Hal and Chris Nungester, of Harrod. At that time the Nungesters sold their seven-bedroom home in Allen County to live in a stone hut with a tin roof in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Since then, the Nungesters have looked after children during a bloody rebellion in 2004, an earthquake that killed 220,000 Haitians in 2010 and Hurricane Mathew in 2016.
Today, the orphanage is home to about 70 children, half of whom have significant medical needs.
“We knew the funds to keep this ministry going was as urgent as ever,” Ann said.
That’s when they came up with the idea of doing several smaller trips over the course of several weeks during May and June. It would be trips of 50 to 80 miles, going from their home in Lima to places like Van Wert, Bluffton and Sidney.
“We put it out on Facebook and tagged people that we’re going to be in the proposed routes. If they wanted to donate, we would pick it up. It was fun seeing the faces of all the wonderful donors. We ended up raising over $4,000 and rode more than 300 miles,” Ann said.
Her mother, Jenny Bowsher, who used to do long-distance bike rides, followed them in a car during the trips as a safety measure.
Ann thinks this year’s trip received more attention than those of the past.
“We had a lot more face-to-face contact with the donors and it just seemed there was more of a buzz to it,” Ann said. “I think the kids missed riding with the big group and all the interaction, but I think they had a good time anyway.”
And there was one big plus.
“We found some great local stops for ice cream.”
ROSES AND THORNS: The rose garden makes room for a special couple.
Rose: To Betty and Miles Hefner, who will celebrate 76 years of marriage on Wednesday. They are the parents of two children, James Hefner, of Tucson, Arizona, and Cathy Root, of Lima. A son, John W. Hefner, is deceased.
Rose: The quick action of the Wapakoneta Police Department and the Auglaize County Sheriff”s Office saw officers stop and arrest an active shooter who was firing a gun from the window of his apartment.
Rose: To T-Bone Jacobs. Not only does he have a great nickname, but he also has a big heart. Jacobs founded the Biker Strong Association five years ago. The group consists of area motorcyclists who help raise money for children battling cancer. Dozens of bikers were out last week raising funds for Dagen Hawkins, a 12-year-old Bath Middle School student who is battling the disease.
Rose: To Joshua Tidd, of Lima. The medical student has been appointed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to serve as the student member on the Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees for a two-year term ending June 2022.
Rose: To Tyler Turner, a pre-engineering instructor, and Brian Shaw, a technology coordinator, at Waynesfield-Goshen schools. They worked day and night from March to the first of June producing more than 2,000 face shields and ear savers.
Thorn: The grass in the center of the new Elm Street roundabout is about three-feet tall. It is either an ornamental grass that is meant to be tall, or someone hasn’t been mowing it. Either way, it looks like a weed-filled jungle.
PARTING SHOT: “Almost all marriages that fail, fail because they fail to communicate. You could save a lot of marriages if you could just get them to do that.” — TV legend Hugh Downs, who grew up in Lima. He died last week at age 99. He and his wife, the former Ruth Shaheen, were married 75 years before she died in 2017.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.