Eight cyclists made a 335-mile trip across the State of Michigan over Labor Day weekend as a fundraiser for International Samaritan, a local non-profit organization that serves garbage dump communities in third world countries. Above, from left to right: Father Don Vettese, Founder of International Samaritan, and cyclists Taylor Montague, Tom Moriarty, Bart Thompson, Joe Miller, Matt Connolly, Trevor Sieben, Anthony Chun, and Brian Sieben.

On Friday, August 30th, eight cyclists set off on a 335-mile bike ride from Ann Arbor to Harbor Springs to raise money for the non-profit organization International Samaritan. The donations raised this year will go toward creating education scholarships for a new program being developed in the garbage dump community of Korah, Ethiopia. The cyclists reported that weather conditions were favorable throughout the long ride. There were no injuries and only minor technical difficulties along the way.

2013 marks the fourth year for the event, and many of the participants are veterans of this ride, which is an important fundraising opportunity for International Samaritan. While donations are still coming in, the group notes that past events usually bring in around $20,000 to help support the meaningful work International Samaritan does around the world.

This year’s raised funds will go to support an education scholarship program in Korah, Ethiopia. Korah, located just outside of Addis Ababa, is a garbage dump community, where most of its residents rely on finding recyclables in freshly dumped trash to sell for scrap. This earns them barely enough to survive in the dire conditions of the dump. Disease, including leprosy, is rampant, crime and hunger abound. Because families earn just enough in the dump to eat, covering the cost of school is not an option. Knowing that education is one way to alleviate the cycle of poverty, International Samaritan is creating scholarships for children of the dump.

Cyclist and 2008 graduate of St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo Bart Thompson organized the event, which he considers to be a personal mission. His love of cycling was born during physical therapy after a crew injury he sustained while attending Stanford University.

Father Don Vettese, President and Founder of International Samaritan, says of Thompson, “Bart is a young man who communicates his beliefs by his actions, and those beliefs are always noble and generous. He is a ‘man for others’.”

Thompson looks forward to continuing the annual event, and hopes that more cyclists will join in each year. He say, “It is a blessing every year we do it.”