I saw Kate Lesnar and her mom, Kathy, shortly before “Shrek” practice a few nights back at a pot luck dinner event. Kate’s younger sister, Annie, is in the show, and all three Lesnars were soon speaking with me about the-then upcoming All Day Fore Africa event. It wasn’t long before I learned something remarkable — a 10-year-old boy was going to attempt to ride from Sioux City, Iowa, to Worthington to raise money for the cause.
Last Wednesday afternoon — with a typically healthy breeze and warm temperatures easily into the 80s — I went over to Worthington Country Club to watch this young man, Andrew Korta, pedal his way to his finish line. Joined for the whole trip by his dad, Tom, and with his family in a vehicle nearby, the Kortas were greeted — and rightfully so — with a hero’s welcome.
As the sweat dripped off the body of this tenacious 10-year-old who kept on going despite later telling me there were two or three times during his ride when he thought he wouldn’t make it, two thoughts were dominant in my mind. The first was, “This young man has done something incredible. What could I — and what could Grace and Zach — do?”
Grace, who is now 8 1/2, came along with me to see the 100-mile-ride’s conclusion, and she seemed just as blown away by the whole deal as I was. I asked her a couple of different times if she thought she could ride 100 miles. She quickly answered in the negative on both occasions, but also said something later that day about perhaps trying to ride bikes to Sioux Falls (pretty amazing coming from someone who I have yet to convince to ride the whole way around Lake Okabena). Perhaps a 100-mile cycling adventure might be out of the question for All Day Fore Africa 2014, but perhaps 100 straight minutes of dancing, or something dance-related? Or, perhaps Zachary could try to hit 100 consecutive baseballs off a tee without missing? Who knows — and I suppose the “100” doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things — but I find it difficult to believe that one wouldn’t somehow be inspired by watching Andrew Korta conclude his remarkable journey.
The second primary thought I had late Wednesday afternoon concerned the All Day Fore Africa event itself. This is something that started as an idea in a Worthington High School student’s head a couple of years ago that has turned into a phenomenon of sorts. In 2011, the first year of All Day Fore Africa, Kate Lesnar wound up delivering a $10,000 (an astounding sum at the time) check to Rwanda to help build a new school Just two years later, All Day Fore Africa is a national effort, thanks in good part to spreading the word via social media and connections that have been forged along the way. The 2013 goal was to raise $200,000 to go toward a new Rwanda medical center, and if the enthusiasm and determination I saw last week was any indication, it will be made.
Above all, it makes me proud that such an impressive undertaking, which is inspiring others to get involved (witness the “Frolf” event of this past Saturday) and help complete strangers on the other side of the world — is happening right here in Worthington and being led by young people. That speaks volumes about what kind of community Worthington is.