When Aaron Tester and Raymond Boutin first contacted us last fall with the idea of bicycling across the country to raise money and awareness for RTNO we were… intrigued, if a bit surprised.

“A bicycling trip to New Orleans in the summer, do they realize how hot it gets down here?”

Upon confirming that they did, we started discussing the details of just how to make an ambitious project a success. We were happy to discover that the commitment these two remarkable individuals had to social justice – and the cause of rebuilding New Orleans in particular – was unwavering.

Both originally hailing from Vermont, Aaron and Ray were brought up with strong appreciations for the outdoors, along with a compelling sense of compassion for those less fortunate. Having found themselves with an opportunity this summer to combine these two passions, they began formulating the basis of what would eventually become known as “The Ride to Rebuild New Orleans.”

After starting out of Salem, Massachusetts on May 31st, the two bicylists will be making their way dow to New Orleans over the next month and a half. Aaron and Ray will spend time in New Orleans volunteering with RTNO three weeks before continuing on the second leg of the trip from New Orleans to the West Coast. The goal of the ride, in addition to raising awareness for RTNO, is to raise $50,000 ($10 for every mile) to go toward rebuilding the home of Ms. Beatrice Foster. Ms. Foster is an elderly New Orleans homeowner who endured a particularly harrowing escape during Katrina, when she was carried out of her home on a makeshift raft by her son in 6 feet of water.

What inspires this athelete activists to complete a 5000 mile journey on behalf of New Orleans homeowners?

“Being outside ALL the time, and having our energy invested every day in a project that is personally rewarding and simultaneously supportive of people in dire need.”

To support the “Ride to Rebuild New Orleans” go to their website, www.discoveramericaproject.org or contact Mike Wackenreuter, Community Outreach/PR Officer for RTNO, at 504.636.3077.