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Hall of Famer Village by the Arboretum

By May 16, 2024 No Comments

For 10 years, cyclists in Tour de Guelph (TdG) have used their love for cycling to benefit Guelph General Hospital (GGH) and local charitable programs through the Rotary Clubs of Guelph South and Guelph Trillium. Several of these groups have been inducted into our Hall of Fame. This year, a new group will be inducted, named VBA after their common residential location at Village by the Arboretum. This group has raised a total of $43,759 over their three years riding together.

The group’s six very driven members are: John Barnum, Ken Boyd, Mike Diamond, John Lewzey, Gerry Neufeld and Pat Eton-Neufeld.

Apart from wheels and zip code, they have other overlapping interests. John B. and Ken are both involved in (and past Presidents of) Guelph Rotary Trillium; John B. led Rotary into the TdG event. Ken and John B. were on the original TdG Committee, and are current committee members. John B. was born at GGH and both his parents spent time in the hospital where the nurses and doctors added extra years to their very productive lives. John’s wife received 2 weeks of incredible care in the ICU unit in Spring 2023.

And John L.? Well, he’s an all-round bike ‘nut’ who serves as the ad hoc VBA Team mechanic and who cycled the final 340 kms of the Camino de Santiago in 2011 with a 70-year-old friend! During the pandemic, John L. learned to build his own bikes from the frame up, sourcing parts from various providers.

Mike saw a Tour Down Under in Australia and rode his bike across Canada when he retired; now he’s more focused on cycling as a way to fundraise for Tour de Guelph as part of the VBA team. Gerry watched the finish of a Tour de France in Paris but in the last two years he and Pat have logged 3000 kms on Ontario’s wonderful network of rail trails. “It’s great exercise and nature ‘therapy’ – and we develop good appetites!”

Give these riders two inflated wheels and they are thrilled to be part of TdG. Why? For John L., it’s become personal. He experienced care at Guelph General during April of this year. “The staff were wonderful to me.” Mike’s wife also received care at the hospital for cancer starting in 2012. She passed in 2020 and Mike, who supported TdG from the start, rides now in her memory. “I was so impressed with the treatment and care she received from all the hospital staff, and I am delighted that the hospital benefits so much,” he says.

Pat says what everyone is thinking. “Hopefully none of us will need this medical equipment in the near future. But our few unexpected visits to the hospital brings home how important it is to have a well-equipped hospital in our community where everyone has access to excellent care.”

And for Ken and John B., they also feel good about supporting Guelph General, and as Rotarians, they also know how a portion of the event’s proceeds are distributed widely to many local charities

and programs through the Rotary Clubs of Guelph South and Guelph Trillium. Thus, they have a deep appreciation of the event’s far reaching impact within our community.

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