Local man bikes around state for a cause

Published 4:25 pm Wednesday, August 31, 2005

By By MARY-ALLISON LANCASTER – Managing editor
Dr. Jeffrey Williams gets up every day at 6 a.m. and rides his bicycle 14 miles, and in the evenings he rides through the Blackwater State River Forest. After 20 years of riding bikes, he's now ready to travel through portions of the state with a goal in mind.
Williams, who works at Brewton Family Eye Care, will comfortably sit on his Lite Speed Tachyon bike in an effort to raise money for two charities and draw attention to the sacrifices made by two individuals from Brewton. Since the first of the year, he said he has been training hard and has ridden about 1,700 miles.
On Sept. 11, 2001, Brewton native Sgt. Tamara Thurman, U.S. Army died in the attack on the Pentagon. Later in the year, Johnny "Mike" Spann, a native of Winfield, became the first casualty in the war on terrorism when he died at Mazar-i-Sharif on Nov. 28, 2001.
Williams said that he would like to recognize other veterans in the state as he passes through or near their hometowns, and he is doing whatever it will take to make his fundraiser a success.
The money he raises will go directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Johnny Michael Spann Memorial Scholarship Fund at Auburn University. His goal is to raise $10,000, and right now he has "no idea how much money has been raised.
A portion of his trip includes traveling through Mobile to The Loop, which is located in Midtown, and paths leading to that area are partially under water and have debris strewn about.
However, debris and water will not stop this man, who will be traveling for the majority of the trip alone, beginning Sept. 3 and ending Sept. 11. Williams said on Tuesday that he plans to travel along federal highways and will play it by ear.
Williams said a few people want to ride a portion of the way and an alumnus from the University of Alabama in Birmingham wants to ride with him as well.
When he's not riding his bike, he will be staying in hotels along the way. On Tuesday afternoon, Williams was building a sign to hitch on the back of a van his father will drive. The sign will make him more visible along the highways. Anyone with questions should contact Williams at 251-867-6891.
Donations can be mailed to either or both of the foundations. Williams asks that donors please mention his bike ride with each donation.

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