I have a really great story to tell. And just like my last post, it started years ago, in my Fifth Grade Sunday School class. Because this is where I met fifth grade Ben Tuttle. Now, if you are familiar at all with Eastport and our beautiful little town, you know that it was apparently built by Tuttles. I’m guessing they were great families, because their Eastport heritage is deep. We have businesses and roads and a school named after them. And to this day, we have a great many Tuttle families that still live in the area, and they are still to this day, great families.
So back to Ben Tuttle.
I remember young Ben being a great kid. He was the youngest of three boys in his Tuttle family. He was kind of quiet and perhaps a little shy.
We got to know him and his family quite well through Eastport Bible Church. And over the years, we watched Ben grow from a quiet and kind of shy kid, into quite a fantastic, smart and hard working young man.
We also enjoyed Youth Group trips with Ben.
He and his brothers attended quite a few of our Breakaway retreats.
It was always impressive and encouraging to see their love for God.
In High School, Ben was a champion runner. He set school records and perhaps other records and while I don’t have all of the specific details, I knew then and now that Ben was extremely gifted in running. To this day, I think that he is the only person that I know that truly enjoys the sport. Granted, I know many people who run, but very few, who, like Ben do it because they truly love it.
After high school, Ben left for Cedarville University. He kept running. And setting records and working hard. Because, oh yes, in between running he put in many hours of hard work and studying and would eventually go on to earn a degree in mechanical engineering.
Photo Credit: Jeremiah Dubie
He would also come home, on breaks during the winter and the summer. And I would make him take a picture with his brothers. Because I love a good sibling picture. And those Tuttle boys never seemed to mind too much.
And this is where the story gets really good. Because while Ben was at college, he met three other guys who all decided that when they graduated, they would do something great. So they planned and talked and eventually decided that their “something great” would be to to ride 4,200 miles across the country. They would start in Washington by dipping their tires into the Pacific Ocean and end in New York, on our very own Long Island and finish their ride in Montauk, by dipping their tires into the Atlantic Ocean. And they would do this incredible ride, not for recognition or their own fame, but to raise money and awareness for the problem of human trafficking. They picked the Safe Harbor House in Springfield, Ohio to support, which is a 24/7 residential and faith based program that provides a safe place for women who find themselves at the intersection of substance abuse and various kinds of trauma.
Photo Credit: James Blackwell
The team began their journey on June 13th and have been riding 75-105 miles a day since then. Oh, and it should probably be mentioned that Ben Tuttle did his riding on a wooden bike that he built as his Senior Design Project. When I heard about the fact that Ben was riding across the country and on a wooden bike no less, I couldn’t believe it. The mere thought of such a feat had me fearful. But great things aren’t accomplished with fear. And knowing that this team was determined and working for such a great cause reminded me that with God’s help, they could accomplish anything that they set their minds and hearts too.
Photo Credits for the following pictures: Ryan Gustafson
These young men are truly living out a great story this summer.
I can’t imagine that it’s been an easy ride, but it’s been so encouraging to see the great things that they are accomplishing through their ride.
As I mentioned before, all along the way, the team has been raising money and awareness for their cause. Businesses and people all over the country have joined them with support and it’s been such a beautiful thing to see.
And I write all of this to let you know some more exciting news. Next Tuesday, Ben and his team will reach Montauk. And we, as friends, his church and his community would love to support his team and his ride. Their website is: www.ridingforanewday.org If you go there, you can track their progress and support their cause. They are $6,000 away from their goal of $20,000 to raise for the Safe Harbor House. A few more things to note. For those who are local. We are having a welcoming party for the team on Monday, August 10 at 7:30pm at the Tuttle’s home. Then, on Tuesday, August 11th at 9:00am at Eastport Bible Church, we are having a prayer send off. Everyone is welcome! If you would like to join or encourage the team along their way to Montauk please feel free to contact Brenda and Nathan Tuttle or Jeremy Herr. Or you can message me and I will let them know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So there you have it. Please be in prayer for this team as they near the finish of their great journey. We love them and are so excited to hear the stories of the great things that God showed them through their summer of riding.