WEIRTON - Before the sun's rays shone over the hills of the Ohio Valley this morning, three men set off on a journey of faith, hope and charity.
The Rev. Marlin Hawley, George Miller and Bruce Trushel have once again embarked on a more than 400-mile bicycle trip in an attempt to raise money for scholarships to Tri-State Christian Academy.
Using a series of bicycle trails beginning in Weirton, they will spend the next four days making their way to Washington, D.C., a trek held for the last four years.
THEY’RE?OFF — For the fifth year in a row, members of Mercy Baptist Church and supporters of Tri-State Christian Academy set off this morning on a more than 400-mile bicycle trip to raise money for the local school. Pictured are, from left, support drivers Tom Straight and Herb Nolder, and riders the Rev. Marlin Hawley, George Miller and Bruce Trushel. -- Craig Howell
During a prayer service held at the head of the Panhandle Trail Sunday, Hawley, administrator of the school and pastor at Mercy Baptist Church, explained part of life is accepting the challenges presented by God while also accepting His guidance.
"For four years, He has peddled us over the hills and down the mountains," Hawley said.
The trio held a kick-off ride with supporters Sunday, traveling from near Midway, Pa. into Weirton, with Hawley noting there have been many who have shown their support over the years by donating to the cause.
Two of the main supporters are Herb Nolder and Tom Straight, who drive a vehicle of supplies, meeting the bicycle riders at various points along the trail to assist them with food, refreshments and repairs.
Trushel and Miller also credited their faith with being able to make the trip each year.
"When we are going downhill, Pastor Hawley says it's God pushing us," Trushel said. "But George and I think it's gravity, and Jesus created that too."
The first ride included a 400 miles trip, increasing the distance by an additional 100 miles each of the next two years. For the fourth ride, they decided to scale back to 400 miles, adding a mile for each year of the ride to follow.
For more information, or to donate, contact either Mercy Baptist Church at (304) 723-0700 or Tri-State Christian Academy at (724) 947-8722.