Plymouth native, Kate Georgen, and her husband, Ben Seipel, were especially glad to have an overnight stay with Kate’s father this week. The couple left Seattle, Washington on May 30 to begin a cross-country bicycle trip across the states to raise awareness and raise funds for two organizations close to their hearts.
Georgen said, “Our goal is to raise at least $5,000 to $10,000 to help Service to School and Team Red, White and Blue improve their IT systems and train the veteran-volunteers who serve to make them an awesome resources for fellow transitioning vets.”
Seipel is a volunteer for Service to School. He explained the organization’s goals. “ They are dedicated to helping vets use and leverage their GI Bill benefits towards the best education possible, while also helping top tier universities increase their enrollment of talented service members.” He said.
Seipel graduated from West Point and recently left the military to pursue a civilian career. While serving in the military, he was deployed as platoon leader and UH-60 Blackhawk pilot with the 101st Airborne (Ft. Campbell, KY) to Afghanistan for a year in 2008 doing med-evac flights out of Jalalabad. In 2011 he again served as a Company Commander and pilot-in-command doing VIP transport, general aviation, and supporting special operations out of Kandahar.
Within days after the trip across America, Seipel will begin his job with Google in New York City.
They are also bringing awareness to Team Red, White , and Blue. George said, “The organization is dedicated to cultivating community between civilians and vets through athletic and social events, with the goal of preserving and improving physical, mental, and emotional heath of vets and increasing their professional development opportunities as they transition.”
Georgen is well equipped to know the needs of the organization. She is a corporate attorney with a law firm in Boston, MA where she works with start-up companies. Prior experience includes five years working for a non-for-profit as a Public Policy Analyst in Disabilities.
Georgen has never let her own disability with a severe hearing loss hold her back. She was a standout competitor on the Plymouth High School Speech and Debate Team . Among other placings, she was the Original Oratory champion in the nation in 2002. She was also a drum major with the PHS band and acted in several theatre productions. Georgen said, “Plymouth has a phenomenal education system.” She earned a degree at Rutgers University. While there. she was a walk-on and accepted member of the rowing team. She then went on to earn a law degree at Cornell University.
Georgen said they started bike riding when she started riding on the backwoods of Alabama while Seipel was in flight school. “We dreamed up this idea of one day biking across America. As Ben transitioned out of the Army and into his first post-Army civilian job approached, we knew we wanted to make it a reality.” she said.
Seipel said the ride hasn’t been easy. “We have dodged hail, seemed to ride into headwinds at every turn, and experienced the hottest June on record in some places.”
They have used their resources wisely often staying with friends and family. They were able to spend a night in Maryville, Missouri on his family’s farm; but much of the trip has been camping. Seipel said they also tied into “Warm Showers” where people offer a shower in their homes and let them camp in their backyards.
The progress of their journey can be found at www.wheelsup.bike. The site includes a donation/pledge page for those wishing to donate.
Carol Anders Correspondent