Tenderness Tour kicks off in Terre Haute

Richard Propes on the first leg of the Tenderness Tour in Terre Haute. (WTHI Photo, Marty Ledbetter)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – When it comes to making a difference, no gesture is too big or too small, and Richard Propes continues his mission to prove just that despite his own personal obstacles.

He says, “I’ve been doing the Tenderness Tour since 1989. I started it off with a 41-day, thousand mile wheelchair journey around Indiana, and it kind of started as part of my own healing journey from childhood abuse.”

Propes has spina bifida and is a double amputee, but that doesn’t stop him from making every mile count.

He says, “When I visited Ryves Youth it was on my 20th anniversary and I had told them I would come back some day and do another event for them. Fell in love with the place.”

So this time around, Propes’ journey is for them.

He says, “Our real specific goal here is to raise enough to sponsor a year of services for 12 children. And right now we’re just shy of 10 so we’re getting there.”

But the purpose behind Propes’ trip grew even more after tragedy struck in the Hoosier State.

The final mile of Propes’ journey is dedicated to Abby Williams and Libby German, the two murdered teens from Delphi.

But the first mile Richard took Sunday, dedicated to something closer to the Wabash Valley.

Propes says, “I had actually planned this event prior to Cameron’s (Hoopingarner) death, but when that happened, obviously as an adult with a disability that hit me really hard.”

But while showing honor to such tragedies, Propes is able to find even greater meaning in his trek.

He says, “One of the great things about travelling the state of Indiana at two to three miles an hour, is you learn kind of the essence of what it really means to be a Hoosier.”

So for a Hoosier like Propes, that’s turning his many small acts into a few big differences in the lives of local youth.

For more information on future stops Propes will make on his tour and to donate to the Tenderness Tour cause, click here.