Nutty Putty Cyclists
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Jon Miller, Eric Maughan, Dan Petersen and Oliver Thompson have embarked on an amazing journey in the memory of their friend and family member John Jones. They will be bicycling across the country from Virginia, down to Florida and across the country California to raise money for the Liz Logelin Foundation.
Check their progress over at Nutty Putty Cyclers
On November 25, 2009 an unexpected tragedy turned my life upside down. My sweet husband of 3 ½ years, John Jones passed away in a caving accident. Of course I was devastated. At the time of his passing our daughter, Elizabeth was 13 months old, and I was a few months pregnant with our second child. John was a second year medical student at the University of Virginia, so the money we had saved had long been spent on tuition, and we were barely getting by on student loans. I was heartbroken, lonely, and afraid. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to provide for our family alone.
In the months that followed I was amazed by the love and support poured out on us by family, friends, and even perfect strangers. People from all over the world sent donations, gifts, and letters of encouragement. I was touched by the overwhelming goodness of so many people, and despite the heartache, I felt very blessed. Our story was very public and our support group extensive, but I wondered how widows and widowers who grieved alone managed to make it through such difficult times.
A few months ago my little brother, Dan told me his plan to bike across the country with his friends and raise money to help me afford to go back to school. As we discussed it I mentioned my concern that there were widows and widowers out there who hadn’t been showered with support as I had, and we tried to come up with a way that Dan’s bike trip could help more people than just me. After some searching Eric found the Liz Logelin Foundation, and we all agreed that we’d like to support them in their efforts to help those who had recently lost a spouse.
I never expected anything like this to ever happen to me. No one does. It’s been six months since I lost my best friend and the love of my life, and everyday still feels like a marathon – trying to find joy in life and be the best mom I can without my John. I’m so grateful for the genuine goodness of people, the selfless giving that has given me hope for me and my kids. I want to thank my little brother and his friends for what they are about to undertake, the Liz Logelin Foundation, and all those who are willing to sacrifice to make a lasting difference in the lives of those with aching hearts and honest needs.
Read on to learn a bit more about each of the cyclists.
Jonathan Miller – 22 Yrs Old
Student at Brigham Young University. Graduated from South Oldham High School in Crestwood, KY. Oldest of two children – Parents Grant Miller and Becky Miller. Emily Petersen Jones is my cousin and I, like many felt deeply for her loss. Knowing John Jones only from the occasional family reunion, I gained a profound respect for his moral character and happy personality. Even as an acquaintance, John exemplified an honorable man to me.
There are several reasons I am attracted to the idea of biking across the country. Apart from being an amazing, unforgettable adventure, I believe our efforts would greatly benefit widowed women in similar circumstances to Emily. By cycling with a cause, our adventure takes on meaning and purpose. I believe it will be an unforgettable experience for all of those who participate. I have always been a fan of high adventure activities, and this is no exception. The fact that we get to do something incredible not just for personal exposure, but for the benefit of many is very inspiring to me. I respect and feel very close to my cousin Dan Petersen who inspired me to join. I am sure that through our experiences together we will strengthen our bond of friendship even further and I will learn many new things.
Eric Maughan (23 years old)
I’m the oldest of four kids in my family, and I graduated from Salem High School the year before Dan, in 2005. After taking two years off to volunteer as a missionary in Brazil, I’m currently studying at Brigham Young University as well. I’ll receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in April 2012 and start medical school that fall to pursue my dream of becoming an Emergency Room doctor.
I’ve been impressed with the Petersen family since the day my family moved to Salem and they spent their whole day showing us around the town. John fit perfectly into their family, since they’re all so happy and helpful. He was a great role model, especially in the way he handled tough situations and his impact on other people. John and I had a lot in common, from similar life situations and career plans to our shared birthday, so his accident really hit home and inspired us to take action.
As Dan mentioned, the idea biking across the country first came up in high school, but we became serious about it last year, when we realized that we could do this for a greater cause. I love biking, spending time outdoors, and adventures, but I wasn’t really set on the idea of biking across the country until we started to realize the positive impact we feel this trip can have on so many people. I’ve already been impressed with the help we’ve received from people we’ve met with about the trip, and I’m excited to see great things happen in the next few months.
Dan Petersen (22 years old)
In my family I’m the youngest of four children, right behind Emily. I graduated from Salem High School in 2006, served as a missionary for 2 years in Mexico, and am now a junior studying business at Brigham Young University.
My brothers, my dad, and I were always critical of the boys my sister dated and expected them to be nothing less than superheroes to be good enough for Emily. When John came along he showed us all up in athletics, intelligence, and pretty much everything else. For me he took a place next to my two older brothers as someone I looked up to. Aside from being incredibly talented I admired him for his moral character. I’ve never met someone as hard working or as ethically solid as John was. His example still makes me want to be a better person.
The idea for the bike trip began when Eric and I were roommates at BYU. We crossed paths one day on campus during final exams week and somehow our old high school dream of biking across the US came up in our conversation. Thanks to final exams our minds were on the brink of insanity and we part joking, but mostly serious decided to defer the next fall semester to do our trip. Eric, Jon, and I are the kind of people that don’t mind breaking away from the norm to make memories that most people will never have. We knew we wanted to bike across the US, but furthermore we wanted the trip to serve a purpose. After considering the things we were passionate about we mutually agreed that we wanted the trip to help Emily and her family. Emily’s feelings were that she’d already received so much help from family and friends that she wanted to give back to other widows and widowers who were not as fortunate as she was. I fully support my sister in her wish. Even more than I love biking, I love having a motivating purpose for my life.