Wheelchair tour to honor Delphi girls, raise money for kids in need

AbbyWilliams (right), Libby German (left). (Provided Photos/Indiana State Police)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A double amputee is using his wheelchair to raise awareness and money for kids in need.

Richard Propes is wheeling across 12 Indiana trails this week, and he’s raised thousands of dollars for kids who are victims of violence. He’s dedicating the last mile of his tour to Abby Williams and Libby German, two Delphi teenagers murdered last month.

Propes was laughing and smiling during his Thursday stop at Plainfield’s Friendship Park, but his smile was nowhere to be seen when he heard what happened in Delphi.

“Honestly, I cried,” Propes said. “It’s horrifying, and it’s not the Indiana that I know. I’ve traveled these roads for 28 years, and I’ve never had a negative experience.”

He calls the project a part of a “Tenderness Tour.”

Last summer, Propes wheeled one mile for each victim of the Orlando nightclub shooting. A year ago, he rode more than 100 times around Monument Circle for kids killed on the streets of Indianapolis.

For this week’s project, Propes raised $4,000 for the Ryves Youth Center in Terre Haute, a center known as a second home for kids who survive abuse. Propes dedicated the first mile of his tour to a 9-year-old boy who recently starved in Vigo County.

“I’m really big on remembering kids as being kids, not for the traumatic thing that happened to them,” Propes said.

Propes is a survivor, too, in more ways than one. He lost his legs in an accident in his early 20s, and he was a victim of sexual abuse starting at the age of 5.

“There’s something powerful about the fact that I wheel doing this because I think every child needs to know that someone is really, truly willing to push hard for them,” Propes said.

Propes will wrap up this week’s tour Friday at Canterbury Park in Indianapolis at 1 p.m. He’ll be joined by 25 students from Bishop Chatard High School.

He is accepting donations here.

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