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Gregory Hook

Fietsen in Zuid-Amerika over onverharde wegen
Cycling in South America, south to north, or the other way around?
April 29, 2019
sierra huasteca mexico
Mi casa es tu casa
May 20, 2019
 

Everybody can do it

 

There is a different story behind every door. In the United States, that door is sometimes a white, plastic door of a motor home at a recreational vehicle park, an RV park. Gregory moved with his wife from an apartment to a camper three years ago. We see them all over the US, sometimes on the road, but most of them stay permanently in one of the many RV parks. It's cheaper than an apartment because the camper is their property and they only pay $ 400 p.m. including all service costs. The small apartment that they rented costed $ 800, excluding the costs. “The calculation was made quickly”, Gregory said. They are proud of their beautiful place.

There is a navy veteran flag in front of the RV, it is on his cap and inside it is full of photos. He was a medic until an accident happened during an American Football play took that away from him. His knees are messed up, many operations and an ending story for the Navy. Since then, Gregory is a disabled Navy Veteran, but that doesn't mean you can retire. He then worked in a youth prison where he guides young people in their trajectory. After that he was a house parent in a boarding school for five years. There were about fifteen houses on the campus of the boarding school. In every house there is room for eight children and they live there with a house parent. Gregory and his wife were responsible for the newcomers who can then grow into houses with better behavior. Indeed, it are troubled kids who come to this school. Their parents are in prison and the children have been neglected or abused. Their task is to raise the children and try to glue what is broken. 'The longest time a house parent lasted was two years. We have done it for more than five years, "Gregory proudly says. They tell the one special story after another and we stare at them with open-mouthed and speechless. Gregory's wife, Cindy, is a small woman, but no way to intimidate. She is mentally realy strong.

But behind every door, also a plastic door of a motor home, lies a special story.

 

Suddenly Gregory says "we have two living children." We thought it is maybe a way of saying that you have two kids, but unfortunately that is not the case. Their eldest son was also in the army and was sent to Iraq. He returned with a trauma and there was little guidance at the time. Two years later their sun died, shot by his wife. Due to a lack of evidence, she is not in prison, although everyone knows she did it. Gregory loses his zest for life, but somewhere there is a distant dream of cycling America. Cindy also has a hard time with the death of their son, but one day she says "stop talking about the journey, do it!". The small flame in Gregory catches fire and in 2018 he left Texas with a trike bike for a 13,000-kilometer journey through the US. His goal was to raise $ 25,000 for the disabled navy veterans. "I ride for those who can no longer ride" he says. On the one hand he means his son, on the other hand all disabled veterans. Based on his stories, hospitality in America seams to be a big thing. He was invited everywhere, got hotel stays, people paid for his groceries and his restaurant visits. Once at home, his RV is open to every cyclist passing through, with the same hospitality with which he was received for six months. "We're taking you out for dinner tonight," says Cindy. "I've seen how they cared for Gregory during his trip and how much it helped him. We also want to give that '. If you see Gregory, you don't expect an active cyclist. Two years ago he weighed almost 180 kilograms. After his bike ride he lost more than 50 kilograms! People often tell us "I could never do this, I am not in good shape." Well let Gregory be an example. Anyone can make a trip on the bike as long as you really want it. Gregory is a wonderful example and inspiration for anyone with a dream he doesn't think he can realize.

People living on RV parks have a bad name in Europe. People prefer to stay away from these places, they generalize and have prejudices. But behind every door, also a plastic door of a motor home, lies a special story. Gregory and Cindy add more hospitality, inspiration and power than many neighbours in the big houses five hundred meters away. We learned to get to know people before having predjudices, because these whom you don’t know can inspire you the most!

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