By Rae Arnett
Many Greek-letter organizations are involved with philanthropy but Pi Kappa Phi is the only fraternity to start and maintain their own philanthropy, according to Adam Phillips of Pi Kappa Phi.
Journey of Hope, a trans-American cycling event founded by Pi Kappa Phi which raises awareness for people with disabilities, made its stop Thursday afternoon in Portales.
Andrew Coet, 20, from Largo, Florida, began his training for Journey of Hope in December two years ago. He applied in the spring of 2013 and was the first person to apply and be accepted.
“My mom bought me the bike I needed to do the trip so I applied as soon as applications went up,” said Coet.
The applications open about one year before an event to allow the fraternity members time to raise money and train. Coet rode around 600 miles of training indoors and about 400 miles of training on his bicycle outdoors, which is the suggested amount of training before doing the Journey of Hope.
Kevin Quan, a 22-year-old attending Clemson University in South Carolina, is cycling with Journey of Hope for the first time this summer. The cyclists have been on the road for 26 days as of Thursday and have over 40 days left to ride.
Quan joined the fraternity and learned more about the event and decided he would like to be part of it.
“I had already cycled and I wanted to help people with disabilities for a summer,” said Quan.
Ryan Green, 20, attends the University of Washington and was inspired by his fraternity chapter brothers to join Journey of Hope.
“I thought there was no better way to travel the country than on a bike and to help people along the way,” said Green.
Green knew the trip would be physically challenging but said the mental challenge is the hardest part.
“There have been days where I do not want to go, but I know would regret it,” said Green.
The team gets to stop in a variety of towns and cities such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Carrizozo, and Portales. Green said the most interesting place he has seen so far was SpoFit, an athletic gym for people with disabilities.
“There were people playing wheelchair rugby when we stopped there and that was really interesting,” Green said.
Push America was founded in 1977 by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Their philanthropic initiative started out with play equipment for the disabled but soon acquired the cycling event.
Bruce Rogers, a Pi Kappa Phi alumnus, rode across America in 1987 and the next year Pi Kappa Phi members from around the nation wanted to ride across America to raise awareness and thus Journey of Hope was formed.