Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Local News

July 11, 2013

Bike riders pedal for the cause — A stop in Pauls Valley was just one of many for a group of bicycle riders on a quest to raise awareness and money for a cause they believe in enough to take a difficult cross country trek.

Using their hard work to do the talking, bike riders taking part in what’s called the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure made PV one of their recent stops on a trip taking them all the way up to Canada.

Each rider considers this a mission as they represent the Fuller Center in Georgia, which is a non-profit housing ministry that works to help wherever it can with projects that provide more affordable housing for those in need.

The bike tour got started in early June in Savannah, Ga., which is not far from the Fuller Center.

With the ultimate destination being Vancouver, Canada, a recent stage of the trip was going from Louisiana to Oklahoma City when the group rode into Pauls Valley and a place they could briefly call home before pushing on again the next day.

While here the group was welcomed by Pauls Valley’s First United Methodist Church.

One of those committed to the cause is tour leader Melissa Merrill.

While still wearing her riding gear and minutes after storing away her trusty bike, Merrill explained working to help a good cause is something she’s always wanted to do.

Merrill is a former engineer who gave up her profession to volunteer for the Fuller Center.

“I knew all along I would do something I could put my heart into,” Merrill said after arriving at the PV church. “Now I volunteer all my time with the Fuller Center.

“We do a lot of projects that involve building housing,” she said.

“We have housing projects in 60 cities in the U.S. I spend most of my time arranging for mission trips to our project sites.”

The group stopped in Pauls Valley on its way to Oklahoma City, which is the site of one of the center’s many building projects.

The 3,700-mile bicycle tour is the center’s single biggest fundraiser. It’s generated more than $750,000 in the past five years for what they call the fight against poverty housing around the world.

“Each rider collects money for the cause,” Merrill said. “It’s amazing at how creative the different riders get in raising money.

“Each rider raises money and along the way people donate to this. At times we’re surprised at how much people help.”

Typically riders will go around 75 or 80 miles a day before stopping to clean up and stay the night at a church. Early the next morning it all starts again as they grab their bikes and hit the road.

“So far it’s been hot, tough, a lot of people struggling with the heat and humidity,” Merrill added.

“We’re hoping the humidity will start to go down as we keep going north.”

From Oklahoma the bike tour will wind its way through Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Washington and then to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.

The Fuller Center for Housing was founded in 2005 by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller and his wife Linda as a continuation of the affordable housing ministry they started 40 years ago.

Text Only
Local News
  • Dancing VBS Good times for VBS volunteers

    Summer can provide a plethora of enriching opportunities for kids with plenty of time to spend. One of the most popular avenues has always been the good old-fashioned vacation Bible school.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • Pup up for adoption 7-25-14 Pauls Valley Pup up for Adoption


    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • One hurt in head-on wreck

    Authorities are not sure what caused a vehicle to veer to the left resulting in a head-on collision near Hennepin early Wednesday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Winners plentiful at peach festival

    With no shortage of visitors making the Stratford Peach Festival a summer destination, it was a win-win situation for all parties this past weekend.

    July 24, 2014

  • Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck Indian Meridian and Grant Wreck


    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Search on for new 911 boss

    The search for a replacement is now on after it was announced the coordinator of Garvin County’s 911 center is stepping down.

    July 24, 2014

  • Stratford Peach Festival 2014 PeachFest draws big crowd

    Unseasonably comfortable weather, a day full of family fun and one of the best fruit crops in recent years. Mix that together and you have one of the best-attended Stratford Peach Festival’s on record.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ‘Evening in the Valley’ set

    It might still be summer but some in Pauls Valley already have an eye on a new school year right around the corner.

    July 23, 2014

  • PV City meetings set for 6 tonight

    The Pauls Valley City Council, PV Hospital Authority and Municipal Authority have set their meetings at city hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • DHS Caregiver Awards Love of client pales next to awards

    On any given day one can find a good story about caregivers going the extra mile to meet the needs of acutely disabled individuals.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

Business Marquee

  • How You Want It When You Want It Today's Pauls Valley Democrat

    Now you can view and download the Democrat right to your desktop on the day the paper is published. Click here to get more information on the Democrat's e-Edition.





    e-mail request to

    April 20, 2011 1 Photo 1 Link

AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp