The Tenderness Tour

One Man, One Wheelchair - A Peaceful Home for Every Child

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Richard Heading Out on January 2, 2016 for another Tenderness Tour Event!

On January 1, 2016, Joseph Hogsett will be sworn in as the 49th Mayor of Indianapolis. On January 2, 2016,  Indianapolis activist Richard Propes will be sending a hopeful yet clear message to Mayor Hogsett that the time has come for Indianapolis to once again be a safe place for children and families.

In an effort to remind Hogsett of this high calling into which he's been entrusted, Propes plans to wheel around downtown Indy's Monument Circle 122 times, one time for each child who has died as a result of violence from January 1, 2008 - December 31, 2015. Propes, a longtime activist in the areas of child abuse and family violence whose Tenderness Tour has been awarded Prevent Child Abuse America's highest honor, the Donna J. Stone Award, doesn't intend this very special Tenderness Tour event to reflective negatively upon the outgoing mayor but instead simply to remind the incoming mayor that there is much work to be done and the lives of Indy's residents depend upon his effectively addressing crime, poverty and other issues impacting Indy's families.

Propes, a paraplegic and double amputee with spina bifida, has a long history of wheeling long distances raising awareness of children's issues and funds on behalf of organizations working to improve the lives of others. Along with his uncompromising political statement, Propes plans to raise funds for Indy's Legacy House, an organization that provides support services and counseling to victims and individuals impacted by crime at no cost. Details for this very special Tenderness Tour are forthcoming - including a back-up plan should roads be impassable, though Propes has a long history of wheeling in all kinds of weather. He wants Mayor Hogsett to know that if he's willing to wheel an estimated 40 miles on what will likely be a cold winter day, he expects no less dedication in fighting crime from the city's Mayor.

2015 Tenderness Tour Raises Nearly $3,000! 

On September 7th, 2015, nationally recognized activist Richard Propes headed out on his 26th Annual Tenderness Tour. This year's event included a 62-mile wheelchair ride across the full-length of the Cardinal Greenway from Marion, Indiana to Richmond, Indiana along with community service days in Marion, Muncie, Randolph County, and Richmond, Indiana.

All proceeds from the 2015 Tenderness Tour went to Arc of Indiana's Erskine Green Training Institute.

The Arc strives to empower people and inspire change in many ways , including expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities. We not only advocate for change, we are working to be part of that change by developing the Erskine Green Training Institute and the nation’s first teaching hotel – the Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center.

After receiving training at the institute, individuals will apply those skills through an internship at the Courtyard Muncie, developed by our for-profit affiliate, Arc Innovations. Other internship opportunities are available at the Thr3e Wiseman restaurant that will be located at the Courtyard Muncie and at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.

Construction is now underway. The Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center is slated to open in December, 2015. The Erskine Green Training Institute will open to students in January, 2016. It is the goal of the 2015 Tenderness Tour to raise enough funds, estimated to be between $9 - 12,000, to provide one full scholarship so that a person with a disability will be able to attend this groundbreaking opportunity for persons with disabilities in Indiana. Tenderness Tour Founder/Director Richard Propes, in addition to being a paraplegic/double amputee with spina bifida, is an eight-year employee of the State of Indiana's Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services and has long credited his own decision to leave life on Social Security Disability and enter the workforce as a vital step on his own road to healing and empowerment. After 25 years of the Tenderness Tour, Propes is working to establish the Tenderness Center, an art gallery and creative space celebrating "the art of social justice," in Central Indiana.

2015 Tenderness Tour - September 7 - 11, 2015

September 7, 2015 - Arrive in Marion, Indiana, Possible Evening Event

September 8, 2015 - Wheel from Marion to Muncie w/Evening Event

September 9, 2015 - Wheel from Muncie to Losantville w/Evening Event

September 10, 2015 - Wheel From Losantville to Richmond w/Evening Event

September 11, 2015 - Return Home

All participants in the Tenderness Tour, including Richard, are volunteers. 100% of the funds raised go directly to the cause. If you'd like to contribute to help cover tour expenses, you can make a donation out to "Tenderness Tour" and mail it to:

Tenderness Tour
5115 Devon Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46226

Find out more about the Erskine Green Training Institute by visiting the institute's website.


The 25th Anniversary Tenderness Tour: October 1-13, 2014

From October 1 - 13, 2014, nationally acclaimed child advocate Richard Propes celebrated the 25th anniversary of his Tenderness Tour with a 13-day wheelchair tour through Northern Indiana utilizing only the hiking and biking trails county-by-county starting in Lake County's Hobart and ending with a four-mile trek from downtown Indy's Monument Circle to the offices of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana. Propes approached this 25th anniversary tour differently from other tours in a couple of key ways - 1) He partnered with fundraising website Crowdrise to allow donors to select a non-profit of their choice for their donation and 2) He invited others to both join him on the road and encouraged supporters to go "The extra mile" by walking one mile in memory of a child victim of violence sometime during the 25th anniversary Tenderness Tour. While a final tally of donations is still pending, and may be difficult to determine concretely as many organizations have reported receiving donations directly, Propes successfully wheeled over 190 miles and raised thousands of dollars for organizations working to improve the lives of children and families. Richard's exact itinerary included:

  • 9/30/14 - Arrive in Lake County
  • 10/1/14 - Wheel the Prairie-Duneland Trail in Lake/Porter Counties
  • 10/2/14 -Wheel along Beverly Rd. and Indiana Dunes - LaPorte/Porter Counties
  • 10/3/14 - Wheel from Roseland to Mishawaka Riverwalk in St. Joseph County
  • 10/4/14 - Wheel Elkhart County's Pumpkinvine Trail
  • 10/5/14 - Wheel Lake City Greenway; Heritage Trail in Kosciusko County
  • 10/6/14 - Wheel Wabash County Bike Trail from N. Manchester to Wabash
  • 10/7/14 -Wheel Sweetser to Marion to Gas City on Cardinal Greenway
  • 10/8/14 - Wheel Howard County's Walk of Excellence and Industrial Heritage Trail
  • 10/9/14 -Wheel Frankfort's Wesley Manor Trail; East Trail; Circle Park Trail
  • 10/10/14 - Wheel Farm Heritage Trail from Thorntown to Lebanon
  • 10/11/14 -  Wheel Morse Park Trail in Noblesville; Monon Trail in Carmel
  • 10/12/14 -Wheel Monon from Carmel to Indy
  • 10/13/14 -Wheel from Monument Circle to 39th & Meridian Street

2014 Road Crew Included

Cheri Herron, CJ Siroky, Karen Roberts Sare, Randy Sare, Terry & Betty Kelsey, Reyna Patino, Andie Redwine, Karla Kincade, Laura Kelsey, Robyn Cundiff, and Kristina Blankenship

2014 CARE Team Members Included

Erin Miranda, Anne Burget, Andie Redwine, Laura Kelsey, and Robyn Cundiff

Additional Volunteers Included

Valerie Lambert, Marie Siroky, Melissa Troyer, Victor Smith, Dave Thornburg, Kris Surprenant, Sarah Kennedy, and Amanda VanHooser

Overnight Accommodations Provided By

Hilton Garden Inn, Hobart; Porter County Child Abuse Prevention Council; DDRS Leadership Team; The Kelsey Family; Sandra Mott; Comfort Inn, Kokomo; Karen Roberts Sare; Jennifer Hendrix

Special Events Included

  • 10/1 14 - Met with Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor; Toured Countyline Orchard; Spoke at Valparaiso University's Christopher Center Library sponsored by Kappa  Delta and Porter County Child Abuse Prevention Council; Received media from Valparaiso Torch and NWI Times (including Hobart, Hammond, and Valpo); Porter County considering memorial tree. 
  • 10/2/14 - Met with Michigan City City Clerk and representative of Minority Health Coalition from LaPorte County. Received media from Michigan City newspaper and online publication.
  • 10/3/14 - Spoke at banquet for Anabaptist Disabilities Network's Disability Awareness event; Had contact with St. Joseph Child Abuse Prevention Council. Media from South Bend Tribune (x2).
  • 10/4/14 - Joined on trail by members of Anabaptist Disabilities Network; Media from ADNet, Middlebury CoB, and area churches.
  • 10/5/14 - Spoke at Middlebury Church of the Brethren's Sunday School; Spoke with Middlebury Tree Board about memorial tree.
  • 10/6/14 - Met with group at Kenapochomocha Coffee Shop in North Manchester; Extended meeting with Wabash Mayor Van Landingham, Tourism Board, and other city representatives. Toured The Access Youth Center and gave donation; Media from Wabash Plain-Dealer.
  • 10/7/14 - Met with Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and he was to mention tour on his local television show. Coverage in Chronicle-Tribune. Attempted unsuccessfully to meet with area non-profit.
  • 10/8/14 - Spoke with mayor's office; Media from Kokomo Tribune; Spoke with child abuse prevention council.
  • 10/9/14 - Met with Mayor McBarnes; Met with Coach Kids organization; Coverage from Frankfort Times.
  • 10/10/14 - Met with Witham Hospital secondary to planting memorial tree; Met with Mayor Lewis; Held benefit concert for Prevent Child Abuse Boone County at Central Christian Church; Media from Lebanon Reporter
  • 10/11/14 - No special events
  • 10/12/14 - Joined  by tour's former youth volunteer of year.
  • 10/13/14 - Prevent Child Abuse Indiana closing; Donation to Julian Center; Walkers from BDDS; Spoke to Indy Star


In addition to individual participants in the "extra mile," organized extra mile events were held -

10/1/14  in Metamora, Indiana
10/4/14  in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
10/13/14 in Mount Prospect, Illinois



  • It should be noted that individuals were encouraged to support non-profit organizations of their choice and were not obligated to report this information to the Tenderness Tour. Figures below include those received through Crowdrise, donations made along the route, and donations we were able to confirm were made directly. Final amount will be made available once all numbers documented.
  • Second Starts - $910
  • Sheltering Wings - $730
  • Prevent Child Abuse - Boone County - $580
  • Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence - $570
  • AFSP - Indiana Chapter - $500 (proceeds from "The Hallelujah Life")
  • Wellspring Retreat & Resource Center - $296 (Informed that additional donations were received - amounts unknown)
  • Families of SMA - $250
  • Prevent Child Abuse Indiana - $230 (plus pinwheel sponsorship)
  • One Million Acres - $200
  • New Community Project - $185
  • The Kid's Pantry - $125
  • Second Helpings - $110
  • The Julian Center - $100 (plus sponsorship of individual at $100 to repair door)
  • Access - $100
  • Coach Kids - $100
  • Heartland Film - $65 (plus sponsorship of film "Private Violence" for 2014 festival)
  • Anabaptist Disabilities Network - $60 (Plus receipts from benefit banquet on 10/3/14)
  • Peace Over Violence - $10