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2018 Tenderness Tour

From September 1-7, 2018, longtime Indy-based activist Richard Propes, a paraplegic/double amputee with spina bifida, once again traveled the roads & trails of Indiana for his 29th annual Tenderness Tour, his nationally recognized event that he started in 1989 with a 41-day, 1086 mile wheelchair ride around the State of Indiana.

    For the 2018 Tenderness Tour, Propes wheeled nearly 100 miles along the Nickel Plate Trail from Kokomo to Rochester before moving over to the Cardinal Greenway in Richmond and riding it all the way to Muncie, Indiana.  He also wheeled Muncie's White River Greenway on the tour's final day in a driving rain accompanied by his road crew, Anne Burget, and a peer from work, Danielle Sparks. 

    Since 1989, Richard has hit the road annually accumulating over 5,000 miles and raising thousands of dollars in this grassroots effort that can be summed up as one man, one wheelchair, and one mile at a time at 2-3 miles per hour. 

     The 2018 Tenderness Tour successfully established the Tenderness Award, a $500 annual scholarship, at the Erskine-Green Training Institute in Muncie, Indiana. The scholarship, awarded annually in October to a student with a physical disability, will support Erskine-Green's mission to provide individuals with disabilities the skills necessary to enter a variety of community-based, market-wage careers.  The goal was to raise $5,000 to fund the scholarship for 10 years - Propes raised over $6,000 and funded the scholarship for 12 years. 

     The first Tenderness Tour started out of Propes's desperation to discover "tenderness" in the world, a mission accomplished throughout his 41 days traveling the roads of Indiana alone in his  wheelchair. After returning safely home, Propes knew he had a life mission to break the cycle of abuse/violence, share hope, create opportunities and to embrace life at 2-3 miles per hour. Since 1989, he's wheeled all over the country in his wheelchair while building a better life for himself as an acclaimed writer, film journalist, activist, ordained minister, and program director for a state agency in Indiana. 

   Over the years, Propes has received numerous awards for his efforts including the Sagamore of the Wabash from the State of Indiana, the Order of Kentucky Colonels from the State of Kentucky, the Donna J. Stone Award (Prevent Child Abuse America's highest honor), and others. Propes is the author of the award-winning book "The Hallelujah Life" and the founder/publisher of TheIndependentCritic.com, one of the most popular online film review websites.  

     The 29th annual Tenderness Tour's itinerary included:   

2018 Tenderness Tour - September 1-7, 2018

  • September 1, 2018
    Visit to Village of Merici in Indy, AM (9am, est.).
    Pop-Up Tenderness Tour Event (Location TBA)
    Arrive in Kokomo for Pre-Tour Prep/Event
    Meal Sponsor: Hawg Heaven
    Road Crew: Kelie Killu
    Overnight: La Quinta Inn (Sponsored by Mary Ann Garwood)
  • September 2, 2018 
    Wheel from Kokomo to Peru
    AM visit to Crossroads Community Church Special Needs Ministry
    Start at US 35 Trailhead; End at Lovers Lane Trailhead
    Road Crew: Kelie Killu/Winston Killu
    Overnight: Quality Inn, Rochester (Sponsored by Valerie Lambert)
    Evening Meal Sponsor: The Dam Landing
  • September 3, 2018
    Day Off (Stay in Rochester)
    Road Crew: Lunch w/Rick and Holly Garrett
    Overnight: Quality Inn, Rochester (Sponsored by Valerie Lambert)
  • September 4, 2018
    Wheel from Rochester to Peru
    Start at Wabash Avenue Trailhead; End at Lovers Lane Trailhead
    Meet with Mayor's Office - 3pm
    Meet with Harvesting Capabilities: Donate Brick
    Road Crew: Alyssa Barkman
    Dinner: First Christian Church Pitch-In @6pm
    Overnight in Richmond: Hampton Inn (Anonymous Sponsor)
  • September 5, 2018
    Richmond to Losantville/Winchester
    AM gathering at Roscoe's Coffeehouse
    Start at D Street Trailhead (Cardinal); End at Losantville
    Meet w/Mayor Shon Byrum in Winchester
    Road Crew: Amy Gall Ritchie
    Overnight: Randolph Inn & Suites (Sponsored by Julie Easton)
  • September 6, 2018
    Losantville to Muncie
    Start at Losantville; end at Courtyard by Marriott
    Road Crew: Amy Shaw
    Overnight Stay: Courtyard by Marriott (Rick/Holly Garrett Sponsor)
  • September 7, 2018
    White River Greenway - Muncie
    Speak to EGTI Students - 8am.
    Start at Westside Park
    Road Crew: Anne Burget 

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

         In October 2018, Richard presented the first Tenderness Tour Award scholarship to Erskine-Green Training Institute student James Winfield of Hammond, Indiana! 

    About the Tenderness Tour

    Since 1989, Indianapolis activist Richard Propes has wheeled nearly 5,000 miles raising thousands of dollars in what he calls a grassroots effort to create a kinder, more inspired world through The Tenderness Tour. This is his story.

    Contact us
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    The Tenderness Center
    1100 W. 42nd Street
    Suite 220A
    Indianapolis, IN 46208
    tendernesstour@ameritech.net