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Matching Grant by the Diocese of Norwich:

Bishop Cote has announced  that the Diocese of Norwich has made a matching grant of $100,000 to Outreach to Haiti Capital Campaign.  Each new contribution to the campaign, up to $100,000 will be matched dollar for dollar. Click here for the Bishop's full announcement.

Daily Updates

The overall description is below.  Here we will post daily updates - starting today!

Day 0 

Karl Falconer flew up to Hartford from Atlanta yesterday, and we are set to go!

Karl, Tom Campbell, and Dan O'Sullivan pictured just before the drive up to Maine.  We will leave bright and early from Freeport Maine, and ride down to Kittery on Day 1.  Some chance of rain, but, overall, the weather looks promising, if slightly cool.  We are all for riders joing us for parts of the ride, but we are really hoping Matthew does not join the ride (unless it is to give us a tail wind)!!

 

 

Day 1 - Freeport, Maine to Kittery, Maine  - 77 miles

A beautiful day to ride.  Much better than expected.  We started on schedule at 9:00 a.m.  The skies were even blue!  No issues on the ride.  We stopped at 1:15 because I had a phone call with the Tom and Julie Wood Family Foundation who provides a generous grant for our post secondary program.  After a 90 minute break for the phone call and lunch, we hit the road, and came into Kittery about 4.  Tom gets the timing of the day award, and is a clear frontrunner for the week.  Just as we rode into the hotel parking lot, his bike broke. Assuming you don't know a lot oabout bike parts, I'll skip the details. Fortunately, Karl really knows bikes. Between his mechanical knowledge, and Dan's previously hidden blacksmithing talents (good at hitting something hard with a hammer!), Karl had the bike ready to ride in about 1/2 hour. 

The scenery was often spectacular!  These pictures will give you some idea.

         

         

     

 

Day 2 Kittery, Maine to Concord, Massachusetts  - 72 miles

Today's ride started in Kittery, and came down through New Hampshire, into Massachusetts, ending in Concord.  The ride was almost uneventful.  Karl got a flat tire, which was quickly fixed.  Of more concern, the McGyver fix to Tom's bike at the end of the day yesterday held up fine all day!

The toughest part of the ride today was wondering what was happening to our sisters and brothers in Haiti.  It is tough for all of us, but having no access to updates for five hours while we were riding was very tough.

When I checked texts, emails, and news at the end of the ride, it was difficult to see all the devastation, but I was relieved to get emails from our staff in Haiti, that, as of late this morning, the staff and their families were all safe.

Tomorrow's ride starts here, goes through the tip of Rhode Island and ends in Danielson CT.

Some of the sights along the way today:

       

 

 

Day 3 Concord, MA to Danielson, CT  - 73 miles

We started the ride at 9:00 at a brisk 46 degrees, but it was sunny and much warmer than even a half hour earlier.  Interesting ride through Concord, Medford and other suburbs of Boston, with the constant turns, lights, and traffic.  From there the course was over beautiful country roads, with early fall foilage.  Into southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, we hit a number of long hills, but none were terribly steep.  While Tom has the timing award so far, Karl has the bad luck award (so far).  We have had two flat tires, and he got both of them!

Fox 61 News met us in Rhode Island just before we reached Connecticut.  John Charlton did a story on the ride in conjunction with Hurricane Matthew coverage.  They put go pros on our bikes, did interviews, and took video from the back of their SUV - an interesting process.  The piece was on their 4, 5, and 10 O'Clock news, and may be on the morning news on Thursday.  The video is available on their website, click here.

Below are some pictures of the scenery and the Fox news process.

      

      

           

 

Day 4   East Hampton, CT to Tolland, CT  - 61 miles

We spent the night at Jim and Maryann Hubert's house.  They provided a wonderful dinner, an nice early breakfast, wonderful accomodations and warm and gracious hospitality.

We started at 7:00 this morning, at a brisk 45 degrees, with heavy fog.  A very raw morning.  The early start was to get us to the Cathedral of St Patrick by 9:30.  At the Cathedral, we were welcomed by Bishop Cote, students from St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the principal of the school, Cathy Reed.  The Diocese is twinned with the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince. Besides Karl, Tom, and Dan, the contingent for the early morning ride included Jim Hubert, Msgr Carini, and TJ Campbell.  The welcome was covered by the Four County Catholic, the Norwich Bulletin, and The Day.  Some pictures are below.

From the cathedral, Tom, Karl, and Dan headed up to St Matthew's in Tolland, which is twinned with St Pierre in Ganthier, Haiti. The weather improved for the afternoon, becoming warm and sunny.  Msgr Carini connected with us again as we neared St Matthew's.  On the way there, my wife, Jan, who is our support for the ride, as well as the advance person as we approach destinations, contacted me that Kevin Hogan, from WFSB Channel 3 news, wanted to meet with us.  We connected at St Matthew's and there was a story on Channel 3's 5pm news.  Some of the parishioners involved in the twinning program greeted us at St Matthew's and provided a welcome lunch.

Here is a link to the Channel 3 story: click here

Tomorrow is our shortest day, as we start in Vernon, go to Mercy high school in Middletown, and end in Farmington.

         

          

          

          

 

Day 5  Vernon, CT to Farmington, CT  - 54 miles

We started the ride about 9:00, in a slightly foggy Vernon, CT.  On hilltops, we could see heavier fog to the south (where we were headed) but the fog lifted over the next hour.  More twists and turns early today than any day other than the Boston area, but light traffic, and the weather turned very pleasant.  We reached Mercy High School at about 11:15 to a very enthusiastic welcome from the young ladies and staff at Mercy!!  A real lift to the spirits!  We passed on Sr Mary's generous offer of lunch, as we were now only 24 miles from the end, but we did have a nice chat.

Mercy is twinned with Foyer Des Filles de Dieu, more commonly referred to as Paula's orphanage.  The Middletown Press did a nice story on Mercy's involvement in supporting the orphanage: click here

By now, the weather was even nicer, and we saw some more beautiful scenery on the way out to Farmington. From being chilled in the morning, we now hoped for fairly short sections in the sun, as it became too hot in the direct sun. The last couple of miles into Farmington were on the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail bike path. It is a beautiful path, and we saw them working on extending it in a couple of places before we were able to use it.

We finished the ride at 1:30 at Tom's house, where we quickly showered before relaxing.  We did the last 25 miles in an hour and a half, reflecting more our desire to be done, than a tremendous amount of excess energy.

My wife Jan, who was our support person and advance team - for our stops, for media contacts, for general support, and, fortunately, not for any breakdowns on the road, joined us soon after.  She was key to the success of the ride.  A while later,  Dennis and Sue Petruzzi, who helped keep the office running in my absence, came over.  Tom's son TJ, who rode part of Thursday, was there as well.  Overall we had a feeling of accomplishment, satisfaction, and, above all, relief!

   

CT river from Arigoni bridge   

 

 

Links to all the News Coverage

Fox 61 News story and video: Click here

WFSB Channel 3 story and video: Click here

Norwich Bulletin: Click here

New London Day: Click here

Middletown Press: Click here

Four County Catholic: Click here

 

 

Ride to Rebuild 2

A small team from Outreach to Haiti will start a 5-day, 337-mile bike ride, touching five of the six New England states, on October 3, 2016, to raise awareness and funds in order to rebuild facilities in Haiti.

This is ride "2" for two reasons.  The first is clearly since we did it last year.  This was originally planned as a one-time event, but since we still need funds to rebuild in Haiti, we are trying it again, in the hopes that your generosity will continue, and push us over the top.

The second reason is the matching grant described above.   Since this ride is for the capital campaign, all donations qualify for the matching grant!  As a result,  Every dollar donated will be worth 2 dollars!!!

OTH has been in Haiti for 30 years serving the poor in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas with a healthcare clinic, nutrition programs, education programs, developing and maintaining twinning relationships, and cultural immersion trips.  Go to our programs tab above to learn more about any of these programs. 

OTH facilities in Haiti were largely destroyed in the earthquake of January 12, 2010.  An efficient and economical rebuilding plan has been put in place, and a capital campaign has been started to fund the building.  (See our capital campaign page for more information.)  So far, $250,000 of the $450,000 target has been raised.  This target is higher than the target last year because of the significant increase in construction costs in Haiti, increasing the cost of the building.

The bike ride has been planned as a "virtual trip" across Haiti.  That is, the distance chosen for the trip is the distance from Jeremie on the West coast of Haiti, through the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where OTH is centered, to Cap-Haitien on the North coast, as shown in the picture below.

                                      

In the interest of time and money, (and for better roads and, hopefully, better weather! - although it isn't clear the weather part worked out last year) the actual ride will start in Freeport, Maine, go through New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and then wend through Connecticut.  We will stop at the Cathedral in Norwich, St Matthews in Tolland, and Mercy High School in Middletown.

 

                                                

                         

For an interactive link of the bike course, including elevation,  click here.

Check back in as the ride starts to get day-by-day updates on how the ride is going.

 To Donate, go to the PayPal link at the bottom of this page, or send a check made out to "Outreach to Haiti" to 815 Boswell Ave., Norwich, CT 06360

 

Follow the ride on Facebook - OutreachToHaiti, and twitter @outreachtohaiti

Current team: 

Tom Campbell, Board Member - OTH

Karl Falconer, Board Member - OTH

Dan O'Sullivan, Director of Administration and Programs, OTH

Jim Hubert, Msgr James Carini, and TJ Campbell will join us for parts of the ride.

 

 

Raised as of 11-1-16      $ 30,102

Target  .........................   $ 20,000

 

View the Fox News story on the 2015 ride, click here.

 

 

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