Archive for the ‘Be a Hero Bike Tour’ Category

23Jun12, Saturday, Savannah, GA

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Today was a beautiful cycling day … and … I had just finished my blog with I somehow deleted the whole thing, so I will try to recreate it with the same enthusiasm that I had when writing it the first time!

Today we started at the Emergency Center for the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office, with Deputy Tripp Meacham, escorting us.  He then helped make the “seamless” transition to Richmond Hill PD, and to the Savannah Chatham Metro police officers and Sgt. Stewart, who brought us safely to our destination.

We always start each day off with a BAH team prayer, giving gratitude for the blessings of protection and provision that we’ve been given so far.

Today we rode 30.5 miles, in beautiful weather, 91 degrees of heat, and, among some of the friendliest people in Georgia.  Lots of people, passing us “honking” their horns, and waving. (we do have a sign on the side of the van that says “if you’re a blood donor, please honk!” So I guess that helps!)

We stopped for a lunch break at McDonald’s and I volunteered to sit near the bikes, since I was not eating … I sure met a lot of people that way, wondering what the heck we had done to have police escorts with us … especially those people that were donors and curious.

Today was a great cycling day and the kids loved it because we have 6 bridges (or overpasses) to climb and they love to “sprint” up them … at least, until they ran out of gas.  Each day they are getting stronger and stronger.

Each day we want to thank you everyone who is supporting this ride and this cause.

Please feel free to share this website and our other Be A Hero Bike Tour “links” with your friends, and anyone connected with the PRESS … because this is such a great event, and we need help getting the word out, in all directions.

Terri (our van driver) finally was able to cycle today because Jeff wanted to ride some more, after  our ride, and he took her for a ride … they both came back tired, sweaty and happy!

That’s about it for now … thanks for everything!

22Jun12, Friday, Richmond Hill, GA

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

OM Gosh, it was another beautiful cycling day, with smooth roads, beautiful scenery, surrounded by our BAH team (adults and kids) with lots of friendly people from Georgia waving and yelling at us, (I’m pretty sure they were all saying nice things, except for one car in which all three occupants gave us one finger salutes), not bad, only one negative incident on the trip so far.

As usual, our cycling “escorts” were dependable, responsible, and great deputies who escorted us safely … delivering us safely. (They were a credit to their departments and a great example to their local communities!)

Thanks to Sheriff Jessup in MacIntosh County and Sheriff Smith in Liberty County and deputies Andy Gose, Meachum and Williams who did a great go delivering us and the kids safely to Richmond Hill, GA. 

We were scheduled to stay at the Richmond Hill KOA, but plans changed, as they sometimes do!

Once again, I want to share a quick reminder as to why we are all doing this ride … (see FB pix today)

A quick summary of “Be A Hero Bike Tour” from their personal handout” cards. (see below)

Be A Hero Tour is a Nationwide project and cause that the National Blood Center and the Boys and Girls Club are teaming up to promote through the efforts of a local humanitarian and his foundation. 

Scott VanDuzer is the President of The Van Duzer Foundation and an Ambassador for the Florida Blood Centers.

On June 11th, five adults (including Scott) and 4 Boys and Girls Club Keystone members will leave from West Palm Beach on bicycles for Washington DC to meet with the Surgeon General on July 11th to promote “Be A Hero Day” as a National event.  Be a Hero Day began 3 years ago in St. Lucie County and last year was statewide.  The event is held in November to recruit blood donors and fill hospitals with much needed blood prior to the holiday season when supplies are typically limited.

Along the way the group will be promoting the need for blood donations and educatinig the public while hosting blood drives to benefit local communities.

You don’t have to ride to be a Hero too, please come out to donate blood and if you would like to sponsor this trip and be a part of this amazing adventure to save lives please go to the lower left corner of the page at  and click the “donate” link. Be sure to indicate your donation is for the “Be A Hero Bike Tour”.

We would love to add you or your organization to our list of sponsors. If you are unable to assist with a monetary sponsorship, we are also looking for sponsorships of gas and food which could be in the form of gift cards from Walmart, Sams Club, Publix, etc.

Thank you for geing a Hero too … your support is greatly appreciated!

If you would like more information on this project please contact Scott Van Duzer directly at (772) 528-3467.

Now that I’ve reviewed the “why” … we are now in the midst of the “what”, the “when”, the “where” and the “how”.

Say a prayer for us … that we may continue to be blessed as we participate in the event of a lifetime … for most of us!

A special “thank you” to all the blood donors we have met along the way and the blood center employees who work daily to save lives … You are awesome!

Talk to you tomorrow ….

21Jun12, Thursday, Darien, GA

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Another beautiful day cycling across Georgia, Camden County, being escorted by Off. Frost, Deputy Sheriff and helped out by the police officers from Kingsland, GA., the earlier part of the ride.

Scott received some really sad news this afternoon, that the little boy, Gibbs, died. Gibbs, was instrumental in getting Scott and the VanDuzer Foundation to become involved in his life, and the need for blood donations helping FBC promote blood donation awareness to help Gibbs (who needed blood daily) So it was a sad day for all of us, I remember last November, at the “Be A Hero” blood drive in Ft. Pierce, I had the opportunity to meet Gibbs father.  (As I said earlier on FB … another “angel” has been called home!)

A “shout out” today for Jeff (our fix-it guy) because he fixed the driver’s seat and the passengers lounge chair in the motorhome, in just a few minutes, after he spotted a machine shop able to fabricate the part necessary to repair it.

Tonight we ate out at the Ruby Tuesday restaurant, in Darien, GA, we called it our “Be A Hero Team Family Dinner” … I had baby-back spareribs, they were delicious!

So another day under our wheels … only 20 to go!

Talk to you tomorrow.



20Jun12, Wednesday, Kingsland, GA

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Every day, I seem to be saying the same thing … what a wonderful day for cycling, how the police escorts are incredible, and how I love each of the amazing people we meet along the way.

Today, we had the opportunity to ride a ferry boat across the St. John’s river,with our motorhome, our van, and several other vehicles across a local river.  While on the boat we met several people, a Commander Boran (USN), a couple of ladies who were donors, a family of 3 and the mother was a donor, and many other amazing people on the ferry. (which gave me the opportunity to ask those who were donors: “Have you ever had a blood recipient, come back, shake your hand, look you in the eye … and thank you for donating blood?”)  Ninety percent say “no” and I finish with … “well you can’t say that any more!” (and a quick explanation of why …)

A quick thank you to Off. Morningstar, Off. Tray, Off. Clements and Sgt Mike Sutton … because each one of these officers and deputies … represented their departments in the best possible way … you were awesome and a great example to the young kids we had riding with us!

Each of the kids, and the adults are becoming stronger cyclists, even though we had some very stiff side winds today as we crossed the bridges and overpasses.  46 miles today!

We got the word today, that Dan (previous driver) has a doctor’s appt on Monday to be cleared to come back with us, if possible.  In the meantime, with Ed back, Ed and Jeff are sharing the driver’s duties, giving each of them the possiblity of cycling part-time with us.  J.J., Cody, Maya and Brytanny are all doing a great job of cycling, along with all the little duties of setting up and tearing down camps and keeping the bicycles maintained.

Right now, one of the kids is getting a haircut, a very close one, yes, it was Cody! (and he was buzzed with his mother’s written permission!)

According to Brytanny, going up the bridges was the toughest part of the ride and going down the other side of the bridge was the most fun!  Right now she is “re-stocking” the refrigerator with water and Gator-aid drinks for tomorrow.

Each day is an adventure for each of us … and … although the route has changed somewhat we are all adapting very quickly to everyone’s personal ”quirks”.

Once again, I would like to say “thank you” to Scott and the VanDuzer Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of St. Lucie County, Brenda Stokes, and Terri Cangianella, Ed, Jeff, Dan and Wendy, Stephanie and Dave Morgan, and everyone else (especially the FBC blood center employees)  who contributed to this amazing “Be A Hero Bike Tour 2012″ … you are each incredible human beings!

I keep saying that this bike tour will be a “life changer” for each of the kids riding with us.  I would now like to expand that to include … all of us (especially the adults) it will change our lives forever also.

Talk to you, tomorrow!






19Jun12, Jacksonville Beach, FL, Hannah Park

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

It was another great day of riding with police escorts the whole distance, 45 miles … Thank you to Sheriff Soar, Lt. Stewart, Sgt. Ochkie, Mike and the rest of the deputies who also rode their bicycles with us. They were awesome and very helpful!

The campground tonight, is infested with mosquitoes, and everyone is paying the price of camping … lots of bites already.

18Jun12, Wadsworth Elementary and Palm Coast, FL

Monday, June 18th, 2012

What a wonderful day to be on a bike ride, cloudy yet sunny, not too hot, and no rain! 54 miles of cycling bliss, with stops at Wadsworth Elementary School in Palm Coast. What an incredible reception put on by FBC’s Cathy and her invaluable employees. The kids from Scott’s BAH Bike Tour put on a great PPT presentation about giving blood and the need for it for all the elementary students. Lots of neat pix. (see Facebook entries today)

Also a big “thank you” to the Sheriff’s Office (motor and traffic officers) from both Flagler and St John’s Counties.  They were very professional, hospitable, and were a credit to their department!

A big thanks to “Miss Brenda” and “Miss Terri” who are working together with the BGC kids, especially Brenda, who has been working many hours in helping to organize the bike routes and the daily stops and coordination of escorts with the various police agencies.

A special update here …  our Mr. Dan (previous driver) is out of surgery and on his way to recovery.  Thank God for watching over him!  He has been released from the hospital and possibly will come back to finish the BAH Bike Tour 2012 with us, after a few days of rest and recuperation!

Also Mr. Ed, (Scott’s best friend) will be back tomorrow, after taking the weekend off to go to his HS reunion in the Boston area.

For me personally, it is really fun to watch JJ, Cody, Maya and Brittany, mature and grow each day, as they learn to cycle, camp out, pick up after themselves, interact with each other, and learn to “watch out” for each other, and the adult leaders.

They may not realize it today, next week, or next month … yet, there will come a time in their lives, when they will look back fondly on the Be A Hero Bike Tour 2012, and realize that this trip was a “life changer” for each of them!  I believe there will come a time, when they will speak in fondness and gratitude for Scott, Miss Brenda, and Miss Terri, for all they did to make this, a trip of a lifetime for them!

Well, that’s about all for now… we are staying tonight at the local KOA, in the donated 38 foot motorhome (loaned to Scott by Dave and Stephanie Morgan) and the tents for the kids.

I’ll try to write more tomorrow.

17Jun12, Father’s Day, Ormond Beach and Holly Hill

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Today was another amazing day … we woke up early at the campsite and then were met by the Volusia County traffic officers to escort us. (3 of them, and they did an awesome job!)

Ormond Beach FBC blood center was our first stop and was a lot of fun (see FB pix) thank you to Cathy, Mike, and all the blood center employees for the great job they did on promoting a Father’s Day blood drive.  We also met a lot of incredible blood donors and then JJ, Cody, Maya and Brittany gave a very nice blood presentation.

We then stopped at the Ormond Beach Firestation for a visit and a tour, then on to Holly Hill Boys and Girls Club where the kids and the leaders stopped for a visit, a shower and are spending there.

We have been invited to park our motorhome in the parking area of the Holly Hill Fire and Rescue station … and … to use their showers (which we did)

Everyone today was especially nice … especially FBC leadership, and Fire Chiefs.

Thank you to everyone for making this such a special Father’s Day!

16Jun12 Saturday, Orlando and New Smyrna Beach, FL

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

What a beautiful day! Last night we camped out and then packed up and moved on to Orlando and the main headquarters from Florida Blood Centers, where we met up with John Marshall (CFO) and Alicia Pritchard … along with many, many FBC employees like Dave, Patrick, etc.

What a wonderful building … it used to be the Planet Hollywood campus.

I was lucky enough to meet with Joe Thomas, one of our amazing OPD alumni … thanks Joe for stopping by for a visit and taking some pix with me.

We received an amazing tour of their facilities … it is always fun and educational, especially with the member of Scott’s “Be A Hero Bike Tour” team … JJ, Cody, Maya and Brytanny. (They seemed to be having a fun time and asked a lot of questions.)

After the blood drive event, we moved on the New Smyrna Beach and are now camping out in the motorhome and in three tents … as usual, everyone is adapting to their new environment.  (Adjustments are a way of life on an intense bike tour like this one.)

Also I want to thank “Scott” for having the courage, the ability and the willingness to put together a project like this, in which he’s doing everything he can to make sure that all BAH members have a good time and a memorable experience.  No one said it would be easy … they just said it would be worth it!

Today, we heard today from Dan (our previous driver) and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong, that was obvious, so he may be able to come back to us and finish with us, as a team member. (That is good news!)

Ed (one of Scott’s best friends) is also gone for a couple of days … a huge “reunion” up in the Boston area, yet, he will be back riding with us sometime on Monday.

I forgot to mention that Jeff (our resident bike mechanic) had the first flat (quite an honor) and JJ had the 2nd flat, soon thereafter.

Now let me take a moment to speak about Brenda and Terry (our resident leaders for the Boys and Girls Club team members, affectionately call “Miss Brenda and Miss Terry” by the kids.)

Both of these ladies are amazing, they have given up a lot, and are still giving their all, to do everything they can to make sure the kids are safe, well fed, clean, and learning new stuff every day!  As I watch these two ladies “interact” with the kids, I can see the love they have for the young men and women in their care.  They are teaching them about camping, motorhome etiquette, cycling do’s and don’ts, basically the 5 W’s of how to survive a long trip like this, and how to still have fun along the way.  Lots of laughter, lots of planning, and lots of patience would describe their contribution to the success of this trip! (Thank you, Brenda and Terry for being here!)

As I watched the “interactions” today, between the kids, the leaders, the BAH team members and the FBC employees, it was an amazing experience of love … especially from the blood donors toward the youngest members of the BAH bike tour team.  I am grateful that I’ve lived long to participate in such a worthy cause! (Just a note to say how much I love the lab center employees, you are awesome!)

I also want to thank God and my personal 110 blood donors who gave 1 pint of each to save my life!

I never want to forget how to thank them “for letting me live”!

That’s about it for tonight, I’ll check in again tomorrow.  (Please check out Facebook for pix)

I’m starting to miss Gail and the family … but … it won’t be long until we’re back together again!


15Jun12 Friday, Palm Coast,Rockledge, Titusville, FL

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Every day seems to be better than the day before  … each blood center and their employees just to get better and better.

Today was a very interesting day, a beautiful ride, and just enough rain to cool it off for us.

Thank you, Dan(the driver of the motorhome), for everything you have done to help with this year’s “Be A Hero Bike Ride 2012″, you are a wonderful man and a real asset to any organization or event.  Take care of yourself, and, get well quick.  (Dan ended up going to the local  hospital, after a fainting spell, and a quick checkover by the firemen and paramedics who happened to be at the blood center.  Thank God!)

I am trying to spend more time uploading pix at the events, via cell phone, and FaceBook.  I hope this gives each of you a more up to date snapshot view of what is happening at each of these events.

Tonight we are staying at the Manatee Hammock campgrounds in Titusville, which is a beautiful place, has showers, electrical hook-ups, etc.  The kids are loving it, because they get a place to camp out and sleep in tents.

A quick shoutout for Jeff … today, he was teaching the kids by example, how to clean the chains, take their wheels off of the bikes, and do a very thorough clean-up of their bikes.  He is a very “hands on” technical guy who is also a very passionate teacher and really cares about J.J., Cody, Maya and Brittany.  He wants this trip to be a “life-changer” for each one of them and from what I can see, at some point in the future, they will look back on this experience and their encounters with Jeff and the adults on this trip, as one of the “highlights” of their lives!  Thank you, Jeff!

Well, it’s time to close for tonight.  Talk to you soon!



14Jun12 Thursday, Melbourne, FL

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Every day I’m amazed at the compassion and giving spirit of not only the “blood donors”, yet, also of the Blood Center employees who do their best to help maintain a safe and adequate blood supply in their local community.

Scott and the Van Duzer foundation never cease to amaze me with his loving kind spirit toward those in need of help.

A big thank you to Ed, Jeff, Dan (the driver), Brenda, Teri (the van driver), and especially the young men and women cycling with us. (JJ, Maya, Brytanny and Cody) they have caught the “vision” of how important “giving blood” is to our society and how many lives are saved by donations.

At the Melbourne blood drives at the Roadhouse restaurants, everyone was having a blast, giving blood, eating, having their faces painted and enjoying the fun and camaraderie of each other’s company!

It is a true blessing to watch the fun and listen to the laughter of kids having fun!  It does my heart good to see such happiness among the youth!