Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Cheney Man Runs ‘500 Miles of Hope’ to Denver

By meerna Jul11,2024
Cheney Man Runs ‘500 Miles of Hope’ to Denver

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A man from Cheney, Kansas decided to run 500 miles to Denver, Colorado.

“What are your talents? How are you using your talents to serve God?” Pastor Pat Nixon asked these questions to a Bible study group at Trinity Christian United Church. One of the parishioners, Rick Wulf, began brainstorming ideas. Wulf wanted to incorporate his love of running into his work with children.

One of the first experiences that inspired Wulf to undertake his mission took place at the Tennyson Center for Children in Denver, Colorado.

“I remember after my first volunteer trip, I was driving home with the minister and he looked at me and said, ‘Do you think you’ll ever go back?’ and I said, ‘How can you not?’ On that first trip, I was hooked,” Wulf said.

The Tennyson Center primarily serves children ages five to 10 who have suffered from traumatic experiences. They offer a variety of treatment methods to ensure that each child’s needs are considered. Having served the Denver community for nearly 20 years, Wulf has become accustomed to seeing a variety of cases, but it hasn’t been an easy adjustment.

“The first trip was great; it took me almost two years to be able to speak in front of a church without breaking down because it was tough. I also met some great kids, the ones where you wonder why they’re there, but there’s some kind of abuse,” he said.

A few years ago, Wulf decided to do more than just that to raise awareness of child abuse across the country. He planned an 18-day mission trip that would include running about 525 to 550 miles to Tennyson, which he titled “500 Miles of Hope.” Unfortunately, his plan was extended due to COVID-19, but after much anticipation, Wulf finally put his plan into action this summer.

Wulf is taking mostly back roads to his destination, followed by a support vehicle donated by Lubbers Cars in Cheney. He began his journey July 2 and expects to arrive July 20. Members of his church have volunteered to volunteer their time, taking turns operating the vehicle.

Rick Wulf, along with athletes from Cheney High School and Middle School, will begin his run on July 2, 2024. (Courtesy of Becky Hedstrom)

Lori Wulf, Rick’s wife, expresses her gratitude for the support Rick has experienced throughout his journey.

“They carry all the water, snacks, everything he needs. He had a great support group around him… and that was a blessing for both of us,” Lori said.

In addition to running, Rick works full time as a Furniture Artisan at Textron Aviation and at Cheney High School and Cheney Middle School as an assistant cross country and track coach. Head coach Rich Simmons, who works closely with Rick, shares his daily routine.

“He’s the most selfless person I’ve ever met, and that’s not an exaggeration. He’s just always willing to help anyone, just calm, passionate about what he does, and optimistic through and through,” Simmons said.

Simmons wasn’t sure Rick could safely run 30 miles a day, but by the time Rick completed his third day of running, Simmons no longer had such concerns.

“I was worried about how his body would react, even with the training. His body is recovering. Otherwise you wouldn’t even get to day three. So I think he’s recovering enough that he should be ready to go from there,” he said.

As part of his overall mission, Rick has set up a PayPal donation site. All proceeds will go to the Tennyson Center. Textron has offered to match his $7,500 donation. Rick has raised a little over $10,000 so far.

Rick’s friends, family and supporters are waiting for him to run through their city. He continues to spread positivity and an inspiring message to all around him.

“I want to give a shout out to Lubbers in Cheney; they donated our support vehicle, and a big thank you to everyone who has sent words of encouragement and donated to this cause. It’s grown bigger than I ever thought it would, and I’m just grateful for all the help and support I’ve received,” Rick said.

To follow Rick’s journey, be sure to like the 500 Miles of Hope Facebook page.

By meerna

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