Rotarian Tom Roepke, youth pastor of New Hope Community Church, gave highlights of his recent Present: Hope Tour. The 803-mile bicycle ride from Missouri to Georgia was a fundraiser in partnership with an international disaster relief organization, Convoy of Hope,  to help the victims of tornado damage in Joplin, Mo., and Tuscaloosa, Ala.  The tour began Sept 22 in Joplin and ended on October 5, 2011 in Atlanta.
Roepke, a novice cyclist, was part of a team of 13 riders who averaged 75 to 85 miles per day, with four 100-mile days, a personal achievement. He shared videos of the devastation and touching stories of people affected by the storms and those they met along the ride. Although the mission was to offer hope and encouragement to the victims, he found they offered the riders more.

The trip culminated in an appearance at Catalyst, a conference of 13,000 church leaders from around the world. Interviews on CNN and the Weather Channel also spread their story. Roepke thanked the Rotary Club and all who supported his adventure and helping him to raise $5,000. He then challenged Rotarians to take a risk, do something inconvenient and "Be Present."