The 99% Ride pays a visit to Oracle

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Helen and Gregg Vinson are pictured with Samantha Soekhoe and Wouter van Eenbergen. John Hernandez | Miner

San Manuel Miner

Gregg and Helen Vinson hosted a couple from Amsterdam for a few days at their home in Oracle. Samantha Soekhoe and Wouter (Walter) van Eenbergen are a support team for bicyclist Dirk Spits who is riding his bike from the tip of Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina. The purpose of the ride which is over 17,000 miles in length, is to raise funds for educational, art and athletic programs for children in Central and South America. The 99% Ride does cycling rides around the world to raise funds and awareness for children in need. They believe that everyone can give 1 percent of their time, money or knowledge to help others.

Samantha and Walter drive ahead of Dirk and give talks to service organizations and at people’s homes to promote the charity and raise funds. They act as media liaisons contacting press and media to maximize exposure of the ride and raise awareness of the projects the 99% Ride benefits. They have also spoken at elementary schools encouraging children to set goals and work towards achieving their dreams. They were in Tucson this past week and visited Oracle due to a chance meeting with a man in San Diego that turned out to be Helen Vinson’s brother. He heard them saying they were going to Tucson next and he told them that his sister lived in a nearby town called Oracle. He told them to look Helen up and maybe she could help them. He gave them Helen’s contact information.

On Monday, Gregg and Helen held a fundraiser at their home for the 99% Ride, inviting a number of people from Oracle to the event. Everyone got to meet and socialize with Samantha and Walter. Walter and Samantha provided a slide show about the 99% Ride and answered questions from the audience. The two explained how they have limited their expenditures on food to six dollars a day. Their reason being that the average family in Central and South America survives on $10 per day. The fundraiser raised $1,200. It probably helped that Gregg was offering one pound of his Jojoba range fed beef for a donation of $100 or more.

On Thursday Samantha and Wouter were heading into Mexico where they will meet Dirk in Mazatlan. Dirk is in La Paz, Baja Mexico where he was looking for a dentist to have a root canal procedure. Samantha is fluent in Spanish which will be invaluable on this part of the trip. She is the Chairman of Corazon Inquieto Foundation in Bolivia. You can follow the progress of Dirk’s ride and follow the adventures of the team and learn about the 99% Ride and how you can donate by visiting their website www.99percentride.org.

A letter thanking everyone was sent by Samantha, it reads:

Dear Oracle Community,

WOW, what an amazing night it was, last Monday.

Thank you all so much for coming to our presentation and for your wonderful support. We were really touched by your kindness and generosity. What a special and inspiring community you are all.

Thanks to your support we were able to raise over $1,200, which means 18 children in Medellin Colombia will be taken off the street, get the chance to play on a soccer team and last but definitely not last, get a chance to get an education. We hope that gives them a better chance in life and creates more opportunities for their future

You can follow your donations for the next months, so please keep following us and see your donation at work.

For the people that have Facebook: facebook.com/99percentride or check out our website now and then: www.99percentride.org.

Again, we’re very grateful that we got to meet you all! And of Course a big thank you to Helen and Gregg for making this all possible. We appreciate everything you did for us and we had a wonderful time with you.

Lots of love,

The 99% team Dirk, Wouter, and Samantha

John Hernandez (140 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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