For eight years, Tom Nickel has raised more money in ADEC Ride-a-Bike pledges than any other adult participating in the ride. This year, he raised $3,500 for the advocacy organization and took home the Gold as the No. 1 adult fundraiser.
Despite a new venue and route for ADEC’s 2014 Ride-a-Bike event, Nickel and other long-time participants were as committed as ever to raising money for the county organization, which assists and advocates for people with cognitive and developmental disabilities.
More than 200 walkers and bikers took part in the 2014 ride. ADEC recognized its top supporters at an awards luncheon June 12.
According to an ADEC press release, though Nickel was the top individual fundraiser, a six-person team named “In Memory of Mike Sisson” raised $3,586.90 and took the Gold for team fundraising.
The team, led in fundraising by participant Missy Mast, was named for a friend’s father who passed away the weekend before the event. Mast and her team’s efforts were dedicated to Mike Sisson and his family.
“For Andrew,” Mast said, naming her friend and Mike Sisson’s son.
Nickel’s team, named “Keeping the Faith” after his daughter Faith, raised just $86 less than Mast’s team.
Six-year-old Goshen resident Dominic Ramer won a bike donated by Elkhart Bicycle Shop for his fundraising efforts and was the top youth fundraiser, according to the ADEC release..
ADEC also created a new Ride-a-Bike award this year to honor Larry Bontrager, a former vice president of ADEC who died in February.
“It was no secret how much energy Larry invested into Ride-a-Bike’s success every year,” Shelly Miller-Vice, Bontrager’s significant other, said in the press release. “Many personal plans were thwarted in light of its timing, and he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
The award is called Spirit of Ride-a-Bike and will be awarded in memory of Bontrager and his work for ADEC and Ride-a-Bike.
Rider Amy Keerl was the first-ever recipient.
“Our first recipient exemplifies the same enthusiasm and devotion to Ride-a-Bike Larry showed,” Miller said. “A long-time ADEC client and Ride-a-Bike participant, she often makes it to the top tier of Ride-a-Bike pledge raisers, but she’s never won the top award. This year, she raised $500 in pledges and pedaled 2 miles.”
The final award of the day went to a family who has raised money for Ride-a-Bike for 20 years. David and Cynthia Janzen and their sons Ben and Steve collected pledges and rode in the event for two decades, and presenter Bradley Vite estimated the Janzens contributed over $10,000 to ADEC and the event.
“Thank you for your dedication and commitment to Ride-A-Bike,” Vite said when he presented the award. “Your continued support inspires the rest of us.”