In January 2014 John was well on his way to earning his Eagle rank with Troop 1212. This honor is a prestigious rank among scouts and one that is not easy to attain. A Life Scout must earn at least 21 badges and show many leadership skills that often include outdoor activities in the wilderness.
Often times the final step before becoming an Eagle Scout is the Eagle Project. Many guys are rushing to complete this last goal before reaching their 18th birthday, the cut off to complete the project.
In February of 2014, while John was out riding his bike with friends, he was hit by car. The accident left him with severe swelling of the brain and spinal damage. He had surgeries to reduce the swelling and remained in the hospital for many months. There were questions if John would walk or even talk again.
A friend suggested Bikes for the World and John instantly fell in love with the mission. Given the family's connection with bikes, this project was a perfect match. "I like the bike project because it's something that I'm passionate about," said John in an interview promoting the collection event held in August.
But John rose to the challenge. For a guy known for making people smile and encouraging action he had no trouble rallying a group of volunteers from his troop and his church. He reached out to bike shops and police departments to secure early donations and trailers full of bikes kept arriving the day of the collection.
Did he meet his goal? Did he ever! Troop 1212 led by John Abendroth collected 181 bikes (and still counting) for Bikes for the World on that hot August day. We had to scramble by 10am to find a solution to transport them all, including two adult trikes. We ended up making two trips to the warehouse. The bikes John collected will be included in our next shipment next week heading to CESTA El Salvador.
A John Abendroth fan and friend said it best, "You're JOHN ABENDROTH. You can do anything."