Serving the Goreville & Lake of Egypt areas since 1977


Goreville Tour de Hope rider top fundraiser

Posted September 19, 2012 by Joe Rehana in News

Goreville resident Joe Martin poses for a portrait Tuesday morning outside of Goreville Food Market where he works . Martin has participated in Marion’s Hands of Hope Clinic benefit ride called, Tour de Hope, for the past four years raising more money than any other rider and is on track to do so again this year.

When the fifth annual Tour de Hope riders take off from downtown Marion Saturday morning, a familiar Goreville face is sure to lead the pack as he heads out to complete his goal of 16 miles and maintain his status as the top fundraiser of the event for the past four years.

Goreville resident Joe Martin, who works at Goreville Food Market and is often seen attending Blackcat home games or out eating and visiting friends at The Old Home Place Restaurant, is on track to once again raise more money than any other rider, which benefits the Hands of Hope Family Clinic in Marion.

“Nobody works as hard as Joe does, nor are they as excited as he is to get to ride in the ride,” said Hands of Hope Executive Director Mindy Hammond, a Goreville resident herself.  “He works so hard and everybody in town donates; $5, $2, whatever, they support him in helping our clinic.”

Hammond said the ride attracts people from as far away as Texas and she expects anywhere from 80 to 100 riders, rain or shine, to participate once again this year.  The ride has become one of the largest fundraising efforts for the clinic raising approximately $20,000 in 2011, which is a substantial part of the $110,000 required to operate the clinic each year.

“The other [funds] we gather by donations through churches, city governments, the United Way and various grants that are not government attached,” said Hammond.  The clinic is ecumenically founded and prays with its patients, excluding it from federal and state grants because of this and relies heavily on the good will of others.  “Every dollar given to us brings back about $3.55 worth of services to the community.”

Martin has joined the ride since its inception five years ago and said of the four routes to choose from he will ride the 16-mile course this year.

“I’m ready for the ride and excited about the weekend,” said Martin, adding that he has been keeping in shape by both walking and riding.  “I ride a bike seven days a week; sixteen miles is a breeze for me.”

While Martin said he knows he raises more money than any other rider, he said he does not pay attention to the total and is unaware of what he has raised this year, but Hammond said he is on track to raise $1,000.

“It feels great,” said Martin about helping through fundraising. “There are lots of people who don’t have enough food to eat or clothes on their back and it kind of gets to me.”

Martin has something of a reputation for wanting to help other people and those around him often find themselves giving in to his efforts.  Goreville Food Market’s Barbara Carroll said she and others at the store support him each year in the ride, enjoying his enthusiasm for the event.

“He likes to do it and likes helping other people,” said Carroll.

Eva Annable, a manager at The Old Homeplace Restaurant who said she has known Martin for some time now, agreed with Carroll, saying Martin works really hard to get everyone he meets to sponsor him for the ride so he can help others.

“He said it just really makes him excited to be able to ride and raise money to help others who are less fortunate,” said Annable.

Registration for the ride will take place at the Marion Square Saturday morning from 7:30 to 8 a.m. with a “mass takeoff” beginning at 8:30 a.m., said Hammond.  Participants have a choice in riding 16; 31; 62; or 100 miles in which support and gear vehicles will be on the course ready to assist if needed.  Goreville First Baptist Church is one of six SAG stops, which will serve the riders choosing the 100-mile course.

“Some of our 100-mile riders do other benefit rides and have said our route is one of the most beautiful landscapes to ride through,” said Hammond.  “We’ve worked with them on improving it each year and the results have been very positive.”

Hammond said the ride has come to mean a lot to the clinic and helps bring a little attention to its cause.  The clinic serves the uninsured, working and below 200% the poverty level people of Johnson, Williamson and Franklin counties.  Its physicians are all volunteers and the clinic has an open register of about 200 active patients at any given time.

“The ride is synonymous with being healthy, as well as benefiting the clinic and people in our three-county area,” said Hammond.

The ride has also come to mean a lot to Joe Martin, who said he looks forward to it each year and might try more miles in 2013.