(Photo: Americus-Sumter Fuller Center homeowner partner and frequent volunteer Thad Harris leads cyclists building a wheelchair ramp in Americus, Georgia.)
The Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure’s primary purpose is to help raise funds for The Fuller Center for Housing’s affordable housing ministry — something it has succeeded in doing over the past 10 years to the tune of nearly $2 million.
Related to that mission is spreading awareness about The Fuller Center. Because The Fuller Center does not build or repair homes with government money, it relies on the generosity of individuals, churches and companies to accomplish its work. Naturally, such generosity only comes when people know and appreciate the cause they are supporting.
Several days during the Adventure, there is a bonus mission as riders hop off their bikes and spring into action, building with Fuller Center covenant partners across the United States. The cross-country summer ride — which has less than one week remaining on its 3,600-mile, two-month journey from San Francisco to Savannah — was busy with its fifth build day of the ride Monday in Americus, Georgia, birthplace of the world’s affordable housing movement. Tomorrow, they will have their sixth and final build day of the ride in Albany, Georgia.
“It’s a full-circle blessing — to bless someone else blesses us.” — Wes Shattuck, cyclist from New Hampshire
For Oklahoma City’s Macy Holsinger, who is riding for the third straight year, the Adventure would not be complete without these build days.
“It’s like you pour cement in a hole, but really it’s the water that makes it form,” she explained from a site where she and several other cyclists were adding a much-needed wheelchair ramp to the home of Frank Angry. “The biking is the framework, but then the build days kinda put it all together and tie it into something more concrete, literally.”
Also working at the Angry house was New Hampshire’s Wes Shattuck, who has been riding with wife Cheryl on his first Bicycle Adventure at age 65.
“It’s a full-circle blessing — to bless someone else blesses us,” he said. “We receive something as a group that’s a little different when we come to the build sites, a sense of accomplishment not just of moving as a group but creating something as a group. That’s really cool.”
Across town, other cyclists — including Colorado’s Jennifer Wells — are working with the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center for Housing, which is converting a vacant second floor above its office into transitional housing.
“I’m walking in my faith when I’m helping others.” — Jennifer Wells, cyclist from Colorado
“The build days for me are a way of helping someone else,” said Wells, who is participating in her fourth straight Bicycle Adventure. “I love to help people out. It’s heartwarming, it’s fulfilling and it’s a way for me to be more Christ-like or Christian. I’m walking in my faith when I’m helping others. It’s one of the most rewarding aspects of this experience because that makes it more personal.”
While fans circulated fresh air through the upper area of Americus-Sumter’s office, the cyclists at the Angry home worked in the sunshine with Monday’s low humidity and relatively tame 88-degree high temperature providing a welcome break from weeks of oppressive heat and humidity in Georgia.
“This is wonderful,” Shattuck said. “Believe me, we are thankful for it. This feels more like my New Hampshire home in July.”