INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Richard Propes spent most of his Saturday riding his wheelchair in circles around Monument Circle for the Tenderness Tour.
Propes wheeled to remember 122 people under the age of 18 whose lives were taken due to violence.
He said, “We’ve got to do something. We can’t keep losing our kids.”
Each year Propes rides his wheelchair for a cause. It’s something he started in 1989.
“I did a 41-day 1,000-mile tour around the border of Indiana and that first tour was, I guess I’d call it kind of a healing journey my own.”
Propes was born with spina bifida and when he was 22 years old he was bound to a wheelchair. Propes said he is also a sexual abuse survivor. He and his wheelchair have taken trips to Cincinnati, Lexington, and three trips to Chicago to raise awareness of issues and money for non-profit organizations.
In addition to remembering the 122 young lives, Propes’ Tenderness Tour on Saturday was to also raise money for the Legacy House, an Indianapolis non-profit organization that provides counseling and support services to victims of violence.
Propes said he attended Friday swearing in of Mayor Joe Hogestt and he was thrilled to hear the city’s 49th mayor mention the well-being of children as one of his three focuses during his term.
“I think it’s wonderful and now I want to see what are we going to do about it.” Propes added, “We can’t put everything on the mayor. It’s not just the mayor’s job to solve the problem or the police’s job. It’s all of our job as a community.”
Propes said he’s talked with several relatives of the young violence victims whose memory he rode in honor of.
“I’ve had probably a dozen families contact me, including it was really powerful the first two children who are on my list their families contacted and said they’re just so grateful that someone is remembering kids. And several other families were the same way.”
He said he’s making it his mission to make sure the young lives are never forgotten.
Click here to see the names of the violence victims and to donate to the Tenderness Tour.
Click here to find out more information about the Legacy House.