|by Courtesy University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture • May 29, 2007|
LEXINGTON, Ky. – To Wayne Hoover ’73 a cross-country bike trek seems like the perfect way not only to remember and honor Larry W. Turner, his long-time friend who lost his life in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 last August, but to "live like Larry."
On June 2 in San Francisco, Hoover climbed aboard two thin tires and a hard, narrow bicycle seat for the Larry Turner Memorial Cross Country Challenge, a personal journey of remembrance that will last 52 days, cover 3,850 miles and cross 13 states, ending in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. While on the road, he hopes to raise money in Turner’s name for the Kentucky 4-H Foundation and, at the same time, inspire 4-H’ers across the state and across the country.
Turner graduated from Wabash in 1973 with a degree in political science. He played basketball for the Little Giants and was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He currently works as executive vice president for Sewell Commercial Brokerage of Lexington, Ky.
Turner, who was associate dean for the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, often said extension could be described in three words, "people, programs and partnerships." To Hoover, a local businessman, the cross-country challenge seems the perfect way to honor his friend’s convictions, requiring, as it does, the support of people and partnerships, and benefiting 4-H programs in the state. The arduousness of the trip will also honor the way Turner faced his own life struggles, he said.
"I want kids to realize that you can rise above whatever challenges you’ve got. You can make a difference, not only for yourself and your family, but you can impact your fellow man and society for good in ways you cannot even imagine if you just don’t limit yourself, if you just don’t look at the restrictions and the negatives that happen every day," he said. "If you look past that, you can really make a difference, and Larry was one of those who did."
Hoover devised the idea of a memorial cross-country bike ride by reflecting on his friend and "how he liked to do things that were different and challenging."
Hoover immediately broached the idea with Turner’s widow, Lois, and officials with the UK College of Agriculture’s development office and extension. It was agreed that this was the type of "outside the box" thinking that Turner had been known for and would be a particularly appropriate way to honor his memory.
"This bicycle challenge that Wayne Hoover is undertaking is extraordinary because it not only pays tribute to an inspiring leader, but it also helps raise funds that will benefit Kentucky and its youth. And this furthers the mission and ideals that Dr. Turner represented and worked toward during his life," said Marci Hicks, development director for the College of Agriculture.
Joe Kurth, assistant director of extension for 4-H/youth development, challenged 4-H’ers across the state to participate in fundraising efforts "in memory of Dr. Larry Turner’s unwavering support of Kentucky 4-H programs during his years as our Associate Dean for Extension." All funds generated will go to the Kentucky 4-H Foundation for the support of 4-H youth and leadership endeavors near and dear to the heart of Dr. Turner," Kurth said in an e-mail to Kentucky 4-H agents.
Hoover’s daily trip blog, as well as more information about Larry Turner and the Larry Turner Memorial Cross Country Challenge, can be found at http://imperator.ca.uky.edu/turnerchallenge.