That’s the simple but poignant answer to why Maurice “Ted” Tobin joined The American Legion’s 100 Miles for Hope challenge.
“I’ve always been involved with young people,” Tobin said, noting he’s been a youth sports coach, Boy Scout leader and athletic director at a church. “If it has to do with children, that fits me. I’ve been a mentor for so many years and enjoyed it. They are going to be our future.”
Tobin, commander of American Legion Post 312 in South Attleboro, Mass., has ridden more than 700 miles during the challenge that supports The American Legion’s Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF). The foundation provides necessary funds to train and support The American Legion’s network of more than 3,000 accredited service officers who represent veterans, free of charge, with benefits claims and other needs. Additionally, the V&CF supports military families facing financial crises by providing Temporary Financial Assistance grants.
To join the challenge, participants register at Emblem Sales. For a $30 registration fee, they will receive a slick tech shirt, a sign to display and a certificate of accomplishment to download, customize and print upon completion.
The 100-day challenge ends on Veterans Day. However, American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford recently encouraged members to reach the 5,000 mark.
Oxford said that reaching the 5,000-participant threshold would drive even more donations to the Legion’s Veterans & Children Foundation (V&CF), which covers the costs of American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance grants for military and veteran families with children at home who are facing severe hardships, as well as funding to train American Legion service officers, who provide free representation to veterans applying for government benefits.
Not only does the campaign benefit veterans and children, participants also improve their well-being with a regular exercise program.
Tobin bicycled regularly as a boy. But about five years ago he was “totally out of shape” and weighed 30 pounds more than he does today.
“I had gone hiking with the Boy Scouts on a very easy trail and I was dying,” the Vietnam-era Navy veteran recalled. “So I decided that I would be getting back in shape.”
Now he bicycles regularly after starting slow and building back up. That’s the recommendation he makes to others who want to get started again or try out bicycling.
“Start out with 3 miles a day, then the next week increase it to 5,” he said. “That’s what I did when I got back into it again. I did 5 miles then up to 7 or 8 miles. Then I went up to 15 miles as my legs and body took care of themselves.”
Tobin lives next to a bike trail, which is 25 miles out and back. “If it’s a nice day, I go out and do at least 25 miles. I’ve done 50 miles with the Boy Scouts and 100 milers. I totally enjoy biking.”