Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure

 

Meet the Riders: Summer 2010

Find your rider by first clicking on the route below and then their name, or scroll down to meet everyone. 

 

Becky Acton
Aaron Alaman

Nate Aron
Abby Ayers
Mark Benjamin
James Bernstein
Tony Campbell
Steve Carrillo
Chris Cosby

Ivan Cunningham
Sarah Doren
Jonathan Fath
Leah Gay

Kyle Halat
Graham Houston
Ryan Iafigliola
Olivia Kilian 
Colleen McKenna

Matthew McKenna
Melissa Merrill
Kendra Nissely

Susan Pratt
Brett Safran
Scott Smothers
Allen Slabaugh
David Steere
Thomas Tebbe

 

Cyclists traveling the full route - Niagara Falls to New Orleans

Ryan Iafigliola, 24
Trip leader and founder of the Bicycle Adventure
Americus, GA
Fundraising goal: $25,000 - Where Most Needed
Go to Ryan's personal page!
Join Ryan's support group on Facebook

It may surprise some people that I don't consider myself a very avid cyclist. Even our volunteer Kelli bikes to work more often than I do! While it's true that this will be my fourth cross country ride, all I know is that if you keep on pedaling, eventually you'll get there!

Thankfully I have learned a thing or two over the years about poverty housing and organizing meaningful, exciting events that really can make a difference, and that's why I do these rides. Inspired by the life of Millard Fuller and in an attempt live as a follower of Jesus, I created this event three years ago and have been "riding high" ever since.

When not out on my bike, I'm filling the role of Fuller Center Director of International Field Operations. (Because we put our money into houses instead of salaries, they reward us with nice titles instead!) Seeing firsthand the need of families around the world - and our ability to make a real difference in their lives - has helped me realize more than ever before just why our work is needed.

I can't quite put my finger on it (although maybe it's my inspiration from all the other incredible riders on this trip), but I'm getting the strong feeling that this is going to be a special summer. Please stay in touch on Facebook, our ride's blog, and Twitter. Thank you for your encouraging words and financial support, everyone!

One personal landmark to look for: at some point on the ride I'll hit 10,000 miles ridden for poverty housing. Oyee!

Chris Cosby, 48
Returning 2008 Fuller Center cyclist
Columbiana, AL 
Fundraising goal: $7,500 - Designation: Chattahoochee Fuller Center
Go to Chris's personal page!

The Fuller Center is near and dear to my heart. I was part of the FCBA in 2008, and have been planning Segment 2 of this year's ride, so it's about time I registered! I work closesly with as many builds as possible in the Chattahoochee Valley where I live. I think this year's trip will be the best by far. Oyee!

Ivan Cunningham, 27 
Returning 2009 Fuller Center cyclist 
Lawrence, KS 
Fundraising goal: $5,000 - Designation: Haiti 
Go to Ivan's personal page!

I've been involved with Habitat for Humanity off and on over the past several years, and rode the first ten days of the 2009 FCBA. 

Aaron Alaman, 28 
Piscataway, NJ 
Fundraising goal: $5,000
Go to Aaron's personal page!

If you asked me ten years ago where I would be today, I would have replied working. I lived a pretty fast-forward life. I grew up with two older brothers so I had a tendency to act a lot older than I was. I rushed through school trying to be a grown up. I really had no clue what that really meant, "grown up." After graduating college, I gained over 80 pounds. No more school, no more sports, just working without much direction.

One day, a friend's mother of mine told me I was getting fat. She didn't skirt around it, but the bluntness was refreshing. I knew I had to do something, anything, because I was not satisfied with who I was. I was active, if you like to call it that, in participating in the Multiple Sclerosis Walk in my area. I saw an ad at a fast food chain no less about an MS Bike Tour. Tired of being overweight, I took the first step or spin rather into this adventure.

I hadn't touched a bike since in high school, ever since I got my driver's license. I dusted off my old Huffy Mountain Bike and started to train. By all means, I am no Lance Armstrong, but I finished the 50 miles in over 5 hours. Not only did I feel good physically, but mentally and spiritually as well knowing that I gave back to the community. All journeys come with its hardships, it only about taking it one step at a time. Today, I am in better shape than I was in high school. I am also in midst of a career change, one where I know I can make a difference in someone's life, in physical therapy. Hopefully, I can take that one step to making this world a better place. 

 

Kyle Halat, 23 
Shickshinny, PA 
Fundraising goal: $7,500 
Go to Kyle's personal page!

I am currently attending college at Millersville University. My majors are government and philosophy with a minor in history. I am currently a member of the Millersville University chapter of Amnesty International. I was very focused when I was in high school and the early part of college. In 2005, I attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for Teaching (PGST). In 2006, I received gold medals in the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) at the state and national level. In 2008, I went on a bicycle tour of the Pocono Mountains for a recreational ride on a shoestring budget.

Since Fall 2008, I was not as focused as I should have been. After a year or two, I decided to get up and shake off the pessimistic attitude and embrace a more positive outlook like I once had. As Nietzsche would say, I gained a great YES for life. I will once again focus on doing great things with my life. This is only the beginning of my journey and it will surely not be the end. During the time when I was doing much with my life, I had many nay-sayers tell me that I could not do something but I would do it anyway. Now, I am going to do it again.

The quote that sums up my life is: "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt


Brett Safran, 23 
Brooklyn Heights, OH 
Fundraising goal: $5,000
Go to Brett's personal page! 

Howdy! I’m in my fifth (and final) year studying mechanical engineering at the University of Akron. I’ve been affectionately referred to as a gearhead--during the week I can probably be found in the school machine shop, and on weekends I’m typically tinkering with something in my garage. My real passion is renewable energy. During my second year at Akron, my friend and I converted my truck to run on used cooking oil and successfully commuted to class with it every day! I’m hoping to find a job in alternative energy engineering upon graduation.

I'm a fan of just about all outdoor activities and adventures including mountain biking, distance running, hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, and skiing. During the past year I was even able to compete in a few amateur harescrambles (cross country dirt bike races). I heard about the trip from another Akron student who participated last year, and I’m really excited about it! I’m used to mountain biking and trail riding, so long-distance road biking will be a whole new experience for me. I think I can make it that far, but I guess there’s only one way to find out!

I can’t think of a better way to spend the summer than to work and sweat for the good of others. I’ve done volunteer work before, but never on this scale. This year was my third year travelling with students from Akron to the Gulf Coast to participate in Hurricane Katrina relief work during our spring break. It was amazing to see the destruction outside New Orleans, especially considering how long it’s been since the storm. Even more amazing was the friendly, grateful, and perseverant spirit of the people we served! I’m sure we’ll encounter that same spirit in the people we assist this summer. The hardships faced in New Orleans are only a small fraction of those faced across the U.S. A safe, warm place to call home is such a basic necessity; yet this need too often goes unfulfilled.

I have experience working in construction and really enjoy getting my hands dirty and building things. I am motivated by the fact that a real need exists and I have the ability to make a difference. I’m excited to contribute to a meaningful cause, make new friends, and learn along the way! 


Segment Cyclists

Nate Aron, 25 
Olmsted Falls, OH 
Segment: Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh (1) 
Fundraising goal: $2,500 - Designation: Haiti 
Go to Nate's personal page!

I’m a runner, avid mountain biker and in generally good condition. But, at first I really was not seeking out a 450-mile bike ride that takes a week. This bike and build event found me on Facebook. After clicking on the ad for this event and learning about the purpose, the charity and how this event will help others I asked myself: “Why am I not involved in something like this?" I didn’t have a good answer. With the support of family and friends this adventure will be possible and I hope to reach my fundraising goal. I am looking forward to the ride, scenery, people I meet, and most importantly the benefit this event will have on those in need that are out of sight from my “normal” life. 
 

Leah Gay, 23 
Twinsburg, OH 
Segments: Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C. (1-2)
Fundraising goal: $5,000 - Designation: Haiti
Go to Leah's personal page! 

I am a super-senior English student at The University of Akron. I first heard of The Fuller Center for Housing through a friend who participated in the bike adventure last summer. Everything she told me about her amazing experience and everything I have learned about The Fuller Center since then has interested me in having the opportunity to serve in such a unique way. Community service, teamwork, equality, and environmental stewardship are passions of mine, and I can't think of a better way to spend my summer while I'm concentrating on following where God is leading me to serve Him in my life. 

Olivia Kilian, 19
St. Louis, MO
Segment: Niagara Falls to Pittsburgh (1) 
Fundraising goal: $1,000

I recently finished my sophomore year at Saint Mary's College at Notre Dame, where I'm studying political science and Italian. I just returned from a wonderful semester abroad in Rome! I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities including skiing, rowing, and cycling. I'm always looking to try something new and the FCBA is just it. It's such a great opportunity to raise money and bike for a cause. I'm extremely excited to participate in this incredible adventure!


Abby Ayers, 22
Stow, OH
Segment: Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C. (1-2)
Fundraising goal: $1,000

I am a newly graduated college student, and after a difficult four years of year-round school, I am looking forward to an adventure where biking and helping others is all that is required of you. I love riding am excited to learn more about touring rides as well and how to help build and renovate homes. I am looking forward to meeting new people and sharing God's love through actions, and am looking forward to growing in my own faith.

Melissa Merrill, 23
Returning 2009 Fuller Center cyclist
Perry, OH
Segment: Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C. (1-2) 
Fundraising goal: $2,000

I was a Fuller Center Bicycle Adventurer last year and it was the coolest thing I've ever done! I fell in love with the Fuller Center, and its cause, so I wanted to stay involved. Since I just graduated from college, I planned one final exciting summer for myself before I head into the 9-to-5 world, and riding again this year for two weeks turned out to be the perfect addition to my plans!


Thomas Tebbe, 61 
Northbrook, IL 
Segment: Niagara Falls to Washington, D.C. (1-2) 
Fundraising goal: $2,000

I am retired after working for 20 years as a social worker and assistant dean at a suburban high school near Chicago. I have worked for over ten years building houses with Habitat for Humanity in Lake County, Illinois. I have been a member of six mission trips to Angola to build schools in the rural areas. I enjoy bike riding and have been on at least six organized bike rides in Illinois and one AIDS ride from Minneapolis to Chicago. This program offers me the opportunity to do two activities that I really enjoy. 


Tony Campbell, 63
Returning 2008/2009 Fuller Center cyclist
Detroit, MI
Segment: Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. (2)
Fundraising goal: $2,000

I had the good fortune to do the entire FCBA ride in 2008 and the first week in 2009. I've also had the good fortune to live in more-than-adequate housing for all of my life. For the last several years, my wife and I have chosen to live in our RV and travel the country building houses with The Fuller Center and Habitat for Humanity. I've also participated in many week-long bike rides in Michigan and other states. This ride is a perfect opportunity to have fun and help to extend to others the good fortune of a simple, decent and affordable home of their own.

Sarah Doren, 25
Allison Park, PA
Segment: Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. (2)
Fundraising goal: $1,000
Go to Sarah's personal page!

I am a grad student at Slippery Rock University getting my Masters in Counseling. Last summer, I fell in love with cycling. This summer when I heard about the trip I immediately wanted to go; but due to my grad school internship I thought it wasn't going to be possible. But things worked out so I could go on one segment from Pittsburgh to DC. I can't think of too much that is better than cycling, helping others and talking about Jesus. That sounds like a great week to me!

Kendra Nissely, 25
Washington, D.C.
Segment: Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. (2)
Fundraising goal: $250

I'm an avid cyclist and runner from Washington, D.C. In fact, my preferred mode of travel and transportation is only by bike, whenever possible. It's clean, cheap, and earth-friendly, and I just love the screaming downhills. I last lived in a very rural area of Colorado where I did a fair amount of biking, and, since moving east, have fought my way through gnarly D.C. traffic on the morning commutes. I rode with this group for a day two summers ago, and was excited to hear of the trip through my new city of residence. I hope to take enough time off this summer to support The Fuller Center and get to know its people for one wonderful week.


Jonathan Fath, 24 
Fairfax, VA 
Segment: Washington, D.C. to Virginia Beach (3) 
Fundraising goal: $4,000 

I have been a rider and doing athletics since I was a small boy. I wished to apply for one reason: to help. I have been a student at Radford University for two semesters, and want to do something a little bit outside of the college student mold. I have experience using most intermediate tools, and love the outdoors. Being part of something like a segmented bike ride as big as this would be absolutely amazing, and I am excited to help in any way possible.

  

Susan Pratt, 48 
Returning 2009 Fuller Center cyclist 
Poway, CA 
Segment: Virginia Beach to Ft. Walton Beach (4-6) 
Fundraising goal: $3,000 

I went last year and had a great time. It was so spiritually rewarding. I love cycling and building houses, so this was a true fit for me. Yes, I was twice the age of everyone, but it didn't seem to matter. We were there for all the same reason: to eliminate poverty housing. 

Steve Carrillo, 20 
Acworth, GA 
Segment: Spartanburg to Americus, GA (5) 
Fundraising goal: $1,000 

I am currently a third-year student at Kennesaw State University majoring in Mathematics. I love being outdoors whether it's running, riding, playing soccer, or hiking. I am always looking for new challenges. I started out as an avid runner in high school, then continued to duathlons and triathlons. Every new challenge I partake in has three common purposes: to work my hardest, to stay humble and to leave the rest to the Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to enter this new challenge with the same philosophy which has slowly become a template for how a live my life. I am thrilled to meet wonderful people and begin this incredible journey!

Becky Acton, 25
Americus, GA
Returning 2009 Fuller Center cyclist 
Segment: Americus, GA to New Orleans (6-7)
Fundraising goal: $1,500

I was fortunate to ride for 2 weeks of the second annual FCBA last year. At the end of the trip, I knew that I’d be back again this year! The cause of eliminating poverty housing is near to my heart as I’ve been working for the past 3 years helping volunteers to travel around the world and build houses with Habitat for Humanity. I spend most of the day at my desk, and it’s hard not to envy the volunteers that I work with. I’m excited to get out of the office, raise some money, ride my bike, and have the opportunity to volunteer myself, for a cause that I believe is close to the heart of God.

Allen Slabaugh, 23 
Americus, GA 
Segment: Americus, GA to New Orleans (6-7) 
Fundraising goal: $2,000 

I'm from Dalton, Ohio and graduated from Bluffton University a year ago. I'm currently living in Americus, Ga., doing a year of Mennonite Voluntary Service. I'm extremely excited to be apart of this amazing bike adventure. I've decided to join because I'm a big fan of what The Fuller Center does and I want to help raise money, spread the word of The Fuller Center and raise awareness of poverty housing through this unique experience.

 

David Steere, 63
Panama City Beach, FL
Segment: Americus, GA to New Orleans (6-7) 
Fundraising goal: $1,500 

I am not your average college-age super cyclist, but what I lack in skill, I make up for in misplaced self confidence! With God on my side, I guess I can do just about anything. I have been bike riding for exercise for well over 40 years and have participated in a few half ironman triathlons, which include a 56 mile bike race. I've completed all three triathlon events together once, and that was last year so I don't claim to be an expert by any means. But I did manage to particpate in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure last year, riding from Americus to Tallahassee. What a kick!

I worked (as a volunteer) for a number of years within the Habitat organization, serving as board member, president, and chief cook and bottle washer for the Bay County (Panama City) affiliate. When Millard left that organization, I was a solid supporter of his and met with him several times to offer moral support and whatever else I could do to help. In one of our conversations, I mentioned that I was a cyclist and a few days later, I received a call from Ryan inviting my participation last year. The rest is history. I certainly enjoyed making new friends and experiencing all the love and excitement that surround this event.

Graham Houston, 52 
Board president, Fuller Center of Greater Kansas City, MO 
Kansas City, MO 
Segment: Ft. Walton Beach to New Orleans (7) 
Fundraising goal: $2,500 - Designation: FCH Greater Kansas City 
Go to Graham's personal page!

I have supported the cause of eliminating poverty housing and providing affordable housing for those who cannot acquire it by conventional means for 14 years. Since 1996, I have personally raised over $80,000 for this cause and have dedicated a significant portion of my life to serving God's people in need through this type of ministry. Cycling has been a passion of mine since my youth so participation in the FCBA is a continuation of combining my two greatest passions. Currently, I am the board president for the Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Kansas City, MO.

Colleen McKenna, 19
Ellicott City, MD
Segment: Ft. Walton Beach to New Orleans (7)
Fundraising goal: $1,000

I just finished my sophomore year at the University of Notre Dame. I am a biochemistry major and hope to go to medical school. The ride is such a unique and fun opportunity and I love helping others, so it seemed like a perfect summer adventure! I'm really looking forward to the trip and to meeting many new people along the way.

Matthew McKenna, 21
Elicott City, MD
Segment: Ft. Walton Beach to New Orleans (7)

I am from Ellicott City, Maryland, and I am a recent graduate of Duke University. While there, I majored in engineering and I competed for the varsity swim team. When my sister asked me to do the ride with her, I was excited about the opportunity. I would get to help people while getting a little exercise in along the way. I am looking forward to the ride and making a difference in some lives along the way.
 

 

Asbury United Methodist Church
Mark Benjamin, 30
Scott Smothers, 43
James Bernstein, 56
Raleigh, NC
Segment: Raleigh, NC to Spartanburg, SC