Mechanic Who Aids IOCC "Race to Respond"
Team Inspires Cyclists By Example
Oberlin, Kan. (IOCC) An encounter with a mechanic in Oberlin, Kan., became a real-life parable for the "Race to Respond" team of how people can overcome adversity.
On Aug. 14, crew chief Kerry San Chirico noticed that the support-and-gear truck was leaking oil from a wheel hub. San Chirico has been driving the 20-foot rental truck across the United States with the five cyclists. He called Penske, the rental agency, and they referred him to a mechanic in Oberlin, Kan.
On Aug. 15, as the cyclists were finishing their ride across central Kansas, San Chirico took the truck to Quality Truck Repair in Oberlin. There, he met Mike Jensen, a man in his 50s who owns the business.
Jensen was able to make the repair by replacing a gasket. "He shared with me that it was hard for him to be out there working because he had multiple sclerosis," San Chirico said.
"He said he'd had MS for five years and that in the last year, it had gotten progressively worse," he said. "His mother had died of MS. Regardless of that, he did the work to the best of his ability to help us out."
The heat - it was in the 90s that day - made it even more difficult. "It was obvious his joints hurt," San Chirico said.
Jensen's example as a person doing good despite obvious obstacles was an inspiration to the cyclists and support team, San Chirico said.
"He said, 'I've got my family supporting me, my friends praying for me, and my faith in God.' "
In the same way, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) works with some of the most vulnerable people in the world - orphans, war refugees, the elderly, people with disabilities - with programs that help them build opportunity out of adversity. The "Race to Respond" team hopes to raise $250,000 in support of such programs.
The cyclists themselves have had their share of adversity since leaving from Keyport, N.J., on Aug. 3 for their 25-day ride on behalf of IOCC.
"Whether the pollution of New Jersey, the potholes in Pennsylvania, the tractor-trailers in Illinois, the wind in our faces in Kansas, or the hot sun everywhere, it's been a long journey," cyclist Michael Tsakalos said.
San Chirico used Jensen's example the following morning to drive home the lesson of the Good Samaritan. "The Good Samaritan did all the right things to the best of his abilities - just like this guy," he said.
The Race is presented by Advantage Plus Inc., a nutritional supplement company based in Tampa, Fla. To make a donation in support of the cycling team, log on to www.racetorespond.org or call the IOCC donation hotline at (877) 803 4622.