It's been a few months since the last blog post and in that time I came down with a nasty case of the flu and spent a lot of time watching snow fall. I've been really wanting to put out a few blog posts but just couldn't get in the right headspace. However, I've drug my feet long enough and we're going to start with this one.
2018 was another big year for me. We finished building my home and I finally got to move in. I got to spend a few days at our nation’s capital, with dozens of other chair users, to advocate for disability rights. I rode my wheelchair another 365 consecutive days, made a productive trip to California, and of course was able to get in another big ride. However, one of the most significant things to happen to me in 2018 was the formation of a little nonprofit called Ian's Ride. There are some really special people who came together and donated their time, knowledge, and support to get this thing off the ground. I’d like to spend a little time here acknowledging them.
First, let me start with the two people who have been with me since the very beginning of this Ian's Ride journey. I'm talking about Deborah Nelson and Jeff Boyd. We first met a couple years back during my 2016 ride. They are both avid cyclists and love being outside. It was a fast-made friendship. Nearly two years ago they approached me and brought up the idea of starting a nonprofit so that I could continue to advocate for more outdoor accessibility. I loved the idea of doing more of these rides but was a bit intimidated by the administrative side. I've always been much more comfortable in the break room than in the board room. However, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up and I will never be able to thank them enough for all they've done. Since then, I've been able to do regular trail runs/rides with Deborah to help her train for her lofty goal of a half marathon every month of 2018. We love getting some miles in on the Olympic Discovery Trail and it's always a great opportunity to catch up and share our fondness for the outdoors. I don't get to see Jeff as much, but we are both gear heads, and he is always super helpful in making suggestions to enhance my wheelchair's performance. He was pushing for those lithium batteries from the get-go. Deborah is the president of our Board of Directors, and Jeff is the Vice President. They're both great people and great friends.
Next, I'd like to mention the man who undertakes the secretary role on the Ian's Ride board, Quentin Wildsmith. Quentin is an attorney out of Seattle and has done so much of the legwork to get this nonprofit off the ground. The administrative pieces to putting a nonprofit together were way over my head, but this guy handled it like an expert. Everything from the application, bylaws, incorporation, and the tax exempt filing were managed by Quentin. He always has good suggestions and keeps me informed on relevant Ian's Ride events on the peninsula. I don't know Quentin as well as some of the other board members, I really hope we'll spend more time together in 2019. I respect Quentin tremendously and look forward to getting to know him better.
Lena Washke is the next heavy hitter on the board that I really want to tell you about. Lena is an accountant here in Port Angeles and our families have connected numerous times in the 10 years I've lived here. She holds down the treasurer role and has been unbelievably helpful with keeping track and managing our finances. This is an area where I fail miserably and having someone incredibly knowledgeable on the subject has been a godsend. She has sacrificed so much of her time and patience and has been all around wonderful. She spearheaded the setup for T-shirts and even a mass mailing that we tried. It's truly an honor to know her and her incredible family.
Another standout director to mention is Steve Stratton. Steve's background is insurance and is the owner of Wenner-Davis & Associates Insurance in Port Angeles. I've known him for some years, and he was a big supporter of the 2016 ride. He's been an outstanding advisor on all the various insurance questions that come up when planning a wheelchair ride across the state. He is a friendly, down to earth man who always makes you smile when you're around him. I was thrilled to have him join us at my house for the culmination of this year's ride and quite chuffed to share a victory beer with him minutes after the rides completion. He also dabbles in brewing, which makes me that much fonder of him.
Finally, I'm honored to have Laurie Stewart as one of the directors for Ian's Ride. Laurie is the CEO of Sound Community Bank and has so many awards and accolades associated with her it's dizzying. Just recently, she was named American Bankers Community Banker of the Year and her name was in lights in Times Square. She has been quite valuable in helping with bank issues and just sharing her expertise, which she has no shortage of. It truly is a pleasure having her on board.
These are the true heroes of Ian's Ride. I'm just a guy who loves being outside and enjoys long rides in his wheelchair. The people I've mentioned do the real work and are always helping behind the scenes. These are busy, professional people who take time out of their hectic schedules to help me advocate for a more accessible outdoors. I most definitely could not do what I do without their help. I don't know how I ever got so lucky to be associated with such special people. It's been a real pleasure to mention how great they really are.
That’s enough for now. I will be posting again soon to tell you all about my recent trip to California.