Dyar Bentz, the program director for the Light the Trail Ride, says they’re raising money and awareness about an important cause.
“It’s sort of a half-outreach and half-fundraiser program called the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation,” Bentz says. “This is a group that is dedicated to depression research and suicide prevention.” The organization is based in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s named for the late daughter of Tom Harris, who’s one of the cyclists on the long trek. Harris says his daughter suffered from depression and took her own life in 2012. He says the ride is all about starting conversations on the topic.
“When people see the sign on the side of our van or our truck, they’re always asking how we’re doing and why we’re doing it and what the background is,” Harris says. “It gives us an opportunity to share our story and generally, we get one back. Somebody in whoever’s family that’s either struggling with depression or even more unfortunately, somebody that may’ve lost someone to suicide.”
The nationwide adventure is taking the cyclists along the Lewis and Clark Trail and it’s posed a string of physical challenges. Harris says they’re doing well and managing to stick to their scheduled goals.
“For a couple of old guys, our frames and bodies are holding up pretty darn good,” he says. “We’ve experienced all kinds of weather. We’ve seen heavy winds, rain, snow. It’s been an interesting ride to say the least.”
They reached Sioux City on Thursday and plan to be in Missouri Valley by Saturday. The group left Oregon on September 3rd and hopes to arrive in Washington D.C. on Veterans Day, November 11th. So far, they’ve raised $175,000. Harris hopes to expand the foundation nationwide.