About the Ride for Runaways
By Krystal Knapp
In 1979, four young men wanted to raise money for a new Trenton shelter for runaway and abused children. One of them had an idea. Why not ride their bikes several hundred miles and ask their friends, family and co-workers to sponsor them?
After lining up donors, they caught a plane to Jacksonville, Florida and began the 1,100-mile journey back to Trenton.
Little did they know then that the shelter, Anchor House, was to become one of Mercer County’s premier charity organizations serving children and teens.
The four men -- Joe Yuhas, his brother Michael Yuhas, Andrew Shedlock and Jim DeBosh -- were not experienced cyclists, and they went down to Florida with no professional bike gear and plenty of naivety.
“We were young and stupid,” Joe Yuhas, who now lives in Arizona, says of the decision to bike all the way from Florida to New Jersey.
Midway through the trip, one of Anchor House’s founders, Sue Jones, had to drive from Trenton all the way down to North Carolina to make a special delivery to the group. When she finally located the quartet riding along a stretch of highway, she opened her trunk and pulled out several pairs of shorts and underwear.
“The guys called me from the road one morning and asked me if I wouldn’t mind bringing them some new pants. They had been ripping their shorts all the way from Florida,” said Jones, who now lives in Florida.
“We were all young, idealistic and stupid back then,” she said. “It’s probably a good thing though. If we’d been smart, we never would have taken so many risks. Anchor House and the ride probably would not exist.”
The idea for Anchor House started in 1978 at the Catholic youth Organization on South Broad Street, where director Art Ball and Sister Maureen Malone kept meeting kids who had run away from home and didn’t know where to go. Jones and others would sometimes let kids sleep on their sofas or at the convent where Malone lived. The group saw the need for a shelter, and planning for Anchor House began.
Visit Trentonian.com for more on the history of The Anchor House and its Ride for Runaways, and visit www.anchorhouseride.org, for more about this year's ride.