This week, we will be bringing stories from our SEA-TRI-KAN bike riders who cycled across the state to raise awareness and support for World Relief’s refugee employment program.  They rode from our office in Kent to our office in Tri-Cities, then finished at our office in Spokane.

Author Garrett Berkey, an SPU student

Day 4: 109.8 miles, Tri-Cities to Endicott. Although we started together, it took some convincing to ride at the same pace today. We were like a community riding together–everyone had someone to ride with and we knew who to go to for each stretch of the way. There were the moral boosters, the pace-setters, the conversationalists, and the others in-between. We each found our individual pace and pushed on.

It was a long day, and it was punctuated by another long journey: the story of a woman who had come to Seattle as a refugee from Afghanistan. At each stop today we read through a part of her story and thought about it on the long, straight road. I spent a lot of today thinking about the things we see and read on the news. They are real. The terror that I hear about in the Middle East is something that people fear each day. This is the first time I heard a story like this about a real person and told on a personal level. It made the stories of all the people I had heard about on the news seem to jump out at me. I am so blessed to be in this safe place. I want to be able to help those who live in fear to instead thrive in this world.

day 4 photo

109 miles through the Palouse is easier with the encouragement of a supportive team.

While riding today, I pushed myself in many ways. Climbing the mountains and pushing the clock, I knew that I could only hold pace for so long. I only had so much in me. Maybe this is like a refugee running for her life? Tiring and seemingly never-ending? But then coasting into the flat lands, I reflected on how the support and encouragement of our little community helped me to push through. Maybe a refugee in America can move through challenges faster with a community to help them out.

Raising money for this program–and being that community of support for someone–is something that I am so glad to be doing.

Garrett was proud to wear the World Relief colors on the ride and hopes that others will be compelled to come alongside refugees fleeing a life of fear and hardship. 

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