Three USM students to bike America for a cause

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Three University of Southern Mississippi students will bike across the United States this summer to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

Preston Bell, Dylan Kennedy and Brentley Wells are members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at USM who will make the summer trek along with nearly 100 other fraternity brothers from across the nation. The 32-state trip is called Journey of Hope, which is a part of Pi Kappa Phi's national philanthropy, Push America.

"It's awesome, the fact that we have this, that Pi Kappa Phi owns and operates this philanthropy," said Bell. "It certainly makes you feel something a lot bigger than yourself."

There are three routes for the trip: trans-America, north and south. Bell and Wells will travel the trans route, beginning in Seattle, and Kennedy will begin the south route in Los Angeles. All three routes will end on August 2 in Washington, D.C.

But their rest stops will not be time spent strictly resting. The guys will go to what they call "friendship visits," which is a time for them to spend working with people with disabilities.

"We get to stop every day and give these people checks and directly see where all our hard work is going to and see the smiles on these people's faces when we roll in on a bike," said Kennedy.

Each rider is required to raise $5,500 before the trip begins in late May. Those funds will go towards the Journey of Hope programs put on throughout the summer for those with disabilities. Wells said he hopes this trip will send a positive message about the Greek community and the work they do in their communities.

"Going Greek doesn't mean all the negative things, but it can actually change your life for the better and cause you to focus on helping others," said Wells. "For us, it's people with disabilities."

To donate to their trip, visit and learn more about their mission.

Copyright 2014 WDAM. All rights reserved.