The Norfolk Area Habitat for Humanity is hoping to get a boost in funds from a Laurel couple who plan to ride in the Habitat 500 bicycle ride in Minnesota next month.
The Norfolk organization recently completed its 30th house at 1109 S. Second St., with several families going through the application process now to potentially purchase it. The house is near Washington Elementary School.
And, as usual, plans are being made to construct another house. And that means more funds are needed.
Donna Rector, the Norfolk habitat’s executive director, said a Laurel couple, Jim and Kathleen Splitt, plan to ride in the Minnesota fundraiser.
The Habitat 500 bicycle ride is not a race, but an annual event limited to 130 bicyclists from all over the country.
The Splitts, who are pastors for the Laurel and Belden Presbyterian churches, are experienced riders who have ridden in the Minnesota event most of the 32 years it has taken place.
Jim Splitt also serves as the chaplain for the local Nebraska State Patrol Troop B headquarters in Norfolk.
Besides their own entry fee, riders have to raise funds on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, but they can designate which chapter they want their funds to go.
Anyone can donate, with riders calling on family, friends, businesses and church groups to raise money. The Splitts have chosen the Norfolk habitat as the one to benefit from this year’s ride.
The Minnesota ride will cover 500 miles over six days, with much of it in the northern part of the state.
In order to donate to help the Splitts, individuals can send checks to: Norfolk Area Habitat of Humanity, Box 1251, Norfolk NE 68702. Note that the donation is to support the Splitts’ in their ride. Donations need to be received by Tuesday, July 9.
The Splitts have been in Laurel for about a year and have been active with Habitat for Humanity for decades, including the rides.
Jim had ridden in 18 of the annual Habitat 500 rides, covering 9,000 miles “plus the training miles.” Kathleen has ridden in 15 of the Minnesota rides and the training miles.
In fact, 22 years ago they spent their honeymoon riding on the Habitat 500 fundraiser. They said the ride usually turns out to be the hottest week of the year for Minnesota.
“Minnesota is very biker friendly,” Jim said. “They have trails all over the state.”
“It is well supported,” Kathleen said. “They give us all snacks and carry all our stuff. They get us nice places to stay.”
The couple also have served on Habitat boards and worked in various positions within the organization in several states prior to arriving in Nebraska.
“We really want to emphasize the work of Habitat in Norfolk,” Jim said. “That’s the biggie. We’re not riding for us. It’s about this house. And it’s about the next family.”