August 1 2006
Ezra McCalment, junior mathematics major from Camby, Ind., was one of 16 cyclists on the Trans American team. Beginning their journey June 3 in Florence, Ore. they stopped in Terre Haute July 25 and arrived in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 13. The trip was a long one -- totaling 73 days and 4,285 miles.
â€œIt was just a great way to spend the summer, more worth while than just going home and working for a couple of months.â€ McCalment said. â€œItâ€™s something that I had never heard of, something that would still keep me involved with the university and the fraternity.â€
Team members were selected for their leadership ability, commitment to service and community involvement.
At first, McCalment never imagined he would be taking part in the program this summer, but after attending a meeting with his fraternity brothers and being convinced that he could raise the necessary money, he was intrigued. Each rider was required to raise a minimum of $5,000 in order to participate. McCalment exceeded that amount and continued to raise more money along the way.
He also decided not to train very much for the long haul.
â€œI didnâ€™t really train,â€ McCalment said. â€œI rode on the bike path for a little bit, maybe for like a week, week and a half.â€
While he had to work harder than everyone else, McCalment met the physical demands, built up confidence in his ability and now feels like a real cyclist.
During the Journey of Hope, the cyclists spend everyday together as a group. McCalment was nervous when he first started the trip because he did not know anyone.
â€œIt was 20 guys. I never met any of them, so I didnâ€™t really know what to think; but I was going to spend my whole summer with them night and day,â€ McCalment said.
Being with the new group of men exceeded his expectations. McCalment said, he could not have asked for a better group of teammates and has formed meaningful friendships with all of them.
During the trip, the crew made friendship visits in which they went into different towns and spent time with different organizations that work with people with disabilities. This gave the riders a boost of support and allowed them to acknowledge once again their purpose for riding.
â€œEveryoneâ€™s unique, everyoneâ€™s equally fantastic, everybody that we met were so excited to see us, they were all just huge grins,â€ McCalment said. â€œIt was really nice. It never got old. Seeing people smile and knowing that youâ€™re there for them, it was great.â€
The Journey of Hope donates money to the organizations they work with. It is present on everyoneâ€™s faces that the Journey of Hope is well worth the tiredness and the long days the riders put in, because the money they have raised goes directly to those who need it, McCalment said.
McCalment, a graduate of Decatur Central High School, thinks he may take part in the Journey of Hope again next year.
â€œI might actually do it again,â€ he said. â€œAnd I would recommend it to any of my brothers or anyone from a different school.â€
The Journey of Hope is a program of Push America, the National Philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. The Journey of Hope is more than just a physical challenge - itâ€™s about challenging the norm, serving our communities, dreams and hope.
Push America is focused on educating people on how to interact with people with disabilities and encourages others to learn more about how they can help support people with disabilities in their community. For more information on Push America, visit www. pushamerica.org
Contact: Dan Melchan, Push America, (704) 996-3414
Writer: Brianna Bullerdick, ISU Media Relations Intern, (812) 237-3773
Sixteen bicycles entered the Indiana State University campus, circling around the Dede Plaza fountain before stopping to meet with spectators from the university. The men, members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity chapters nationwide, were part of Push Americaâ€™s Journey of Hope Bike Ride Across America. One of the riders, an ISU student, gave up his summer to take part in the program and help those with disabilities.