Bicycle Enthusiasts Have Fun While Helping Local Charities
A total of 559 bicyclists were given a special opportunity to explore NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the morning of Oct. 6 during the annual Tour de KSC. The tour enabled employees and their guests to see historic Kennedy facilities, while raising money for local and international charities.
The ride encourages exercise, good health and serves as the kick-off for the annual Combined Federal Campaign, or CFC. The mission of CFC is to support those in need through a program that is employee focused, cost efficient and effective in providing all civil service employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life.
In brief ceremonies prior to the start of the bicycle ride Bob Cabana, center director and a former space shuttle commander, noted that this year's event well exceeded the goal of raising $10,000 and the number of participants was up from 500 a year ago.
"We're kicking off the Combined Federal Campaign here at the Kennedy Space Center in style," he said. "We've set a record today for the amount of money raised by our Tour de KSC CFC kick-off event."
Cabana then presented a check for $11,180 to Susan McGrath, vice president of resource development for United Way of Brevard County.
Tour de KSC co-chair Bob Willcox, of the Kennedy Information Technology and Communications Services, was pleased with the turnout.
"I am personally proud of the Tour de KSC," Willcox said. "We raised $11,180 for such a great cause, the Combined Federal Campaign. We offer a unique opportunity for our employees to bring family and friends to get a special look at our wonderful facility in a healthful activity."
"The smiles on people's faces before, during, and after speak volumes and make all the hard work worthwhile," said Wilcox.
The reaction of Phil Metzger, a research physicist in Kennedy's Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory, reflected the feelings of many participants.
"My wife and I had so much fun we're wondering why we never did this before," Metzger said. "Helping people through the Combined Federal Campaign, enjoying a beautiful day cycling in Florida and seeing the sites at KSC -- what could be better than that?"
More than 25 volunteers helped make the third Tour de KSC possible assisting along the way.
All riders started at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and had the opportunity to choose from up to four tour routes that took cyclists past the Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 2 giving bikers an opportunity to see the space shuttle Atlantis up close, Launch Pad 39B, the Shuttle Landing Facility, and through Kennedy's Industrial Area, passing buildings such as the Space Station Processing Facility, the Operations and Checkout Building and the Kennedy Headquarters Building.
"Stop-and-go" stations along the routes gave riders a chance to pause for a snack, water break and photo opportunities strategically located along the routes.
The entry fee for Tour de KSC was $28 and included a T-shirt and refreshments and pizza at the finish line. Each registration included $20 donated to Kennedy's CFC fund.
Charities chosen for the CFC support a variety of needs across the world, including early education, child protection, animal shelters, health and medical research, environmental clean-up, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, aiding the disabled and more.
One of the primary beneficiaries of Kennedy's CFC is United Way of Brevard County. Additionally, 777 other non-profit organizations received designated gifts during 2011 based on employee choices. Last year some employees did not select a specific charity to receive their gifts with those undesignated funds provided proportionally to charities designated in the campaign.
Bob Granath NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center