Kentucky man crossing country to raise funds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Kentucky resident Don Boehly is criss-crossing the country to make sure no one forgets the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.

Boehly set out Sept. 1 of this year from his hometown of Grayson, Ky., for a 50-state bicycle tour to raise money for the Todd Beamer Foundation and other groups that help police officers and firefighters.

Along the way, he is stopping and police and fire stations and getting to know the heroes he is riding for.

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Overnight Tuesday, he stayed at the Natchez Fire Department.

&uot;I always wanted to tour all 50 states,&uot; said Boehly, who has already done two bicycle tours to raise money after Sept. 11.

He took the trip this year to remind Americans about that day &045; and the heroes who saved so many lives and also lost their lives.

&uot;It’s the attention of 9/11 that’s dropped,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s my intention to bring it up.&uot;

When he isn’t riding his bike, Boehly is a handyman in Kentucky. But he has not had to use that &uot;jack of all trades&uot; ability on this trip to make money &045; he has been taken care of along the way by the new friends he has met.

&uot;I stay at fire stations and police stations,&uot; he said. &uot;Everyone is friendly.

&uot;The fire chiefs make sure I’m (taken care of) before I go down.&uot;

Many acts of kindness have helped Boehly on his journey. Someone at a gas station bought him lunch on Tuesday; a firefighter in Natchez found him a new tire for his bike.

&uot;I haven’t found a point yet where I’ve needed to stop and work (for money),&uot; he said.

Boehly won’t take cash donations from police officers or firefighters, but he is grateful for a dinner or a place to sleep or even a bottle of Gatorade.

Donations to the organizations Boehly rides for can be made at the Web site