By Leah Sander
WINONA LAKE — A local man has raised at least $20,000 to help the family of his late brother who died unexpectedly this summer.
Nate Shipley joined together with others from the 2nd Mile Adventures biking group to travel 1,300 miles over four days. It was all to raise funds to help his brother Andrew “Drew” Shipley’s family.
Drew Shipley died in July from an undiagnosed case of leukemia, leaving his wife Jessie and three daughters financially unstable. Nate Shipley got the idea to raise $40,000 for them through the trip via a GoFundMe page.
Nate Shipley and five others, Mason Geiger, Nate Gernert, Heath Shock, Noel Howett and Kyle Downs, were the main riders in the event. They took turns riding in about three-hour shifts.
Other family members of Drew Shipley also joined in. His and Nate’s brother, Adam Shipley, rode the last 30 miles in Florida from Port Charlotte, Fla., to Cape Coral, Fla. Drew and Jessie Shipley’s nephew Ian Beck also participated albeit remotely.
Beck rode 40 miles in Alaska where he lives. The trip also had five other bonus riders participate for parts of it: Matthew Niemier, Nate Lothamer, Matt Mauk and Sarah and Steve Marsh. All are from Warsaw and Winona Lake.
The ride for the main group started in Kokomo at the house of Drew Shipley’s in-laws and ended at his and Jessie’s home in Cape Coral, Fla.
Nate Shipley said the process of the trip helped him heal.
“It was very emotional and fulfilling,” he said of the finish. “To ride in with my oldest brother Adam Shipley was just incredible! This ride definitely is helping us both heal and turn our pain of Drew’s loss into purpose. We know now that Jessie and her girls are going to be OK because of the financial support of others.”
The ride is not the end of Nate Shipley’s desire to help widows. He plans to start the nonprofit WOW 1:27.
WOW stands for Watching Our Widows and the numbers come from the Bible verse James 1:27, which talks in part about caring for widows.
“We will offer funding and training for churches and communities to start ministries to care for widows through financial, spiritual, emotional and mental help,” he said.
He’s planning a second ride in honor of Drew in Warsaw to raise money for the organization. That should be in spring.
People may still give to the GoFundMe account to help Jessie and the girls. That’s at gofundme.com/f/Andrew-Shipley-Memorial-Ride.