A Carthage man is preparing for a long bicycle journey.

A Carthage man is preparing for a long bicycle journey.
This October, Jacob Nevills, 37, will have his parents close to his heart as he treks 417 miles for the Carthage Area United Way. He has begun fundraising to help pay for his food and motel stays, but additional dollars are going to be donated to the organization that supports 15 local non-profits. Through a program at Innovative Industries, Nevills works at H.E. Williams Inc. He has been with Innovative for four years, and knows the United Way helps countless people.
"I figured it's local and helps several different agencies and people," he said. "It's going to be a challenge and a half. I promised my dad I would do this, and I did it."
Last summer, Nevills rode his bike from Joplin to Cuba, Mo., for a family reunion. He considers that trip a test-run for his trip this October when he travels from Wyndotte, Okla., to Grannit City, Ill.
He carries with him a well-worn picture of his parents. His father, David, passed away December 2006, and his mother, Ruth, still lives in Carthage.
"He believed I could do whatever I wanted to," Nevills said of his father. "Part of the reason he told me it was impossible was because he knew the route I would have to take. And some of those roads only have three inches of space between the road and a cliff."
Nevills plans to take Highway 60 to James River Express Way, then Highway 63 to Cuba, Mo. He estimates it will be 417 miles, and back again will be approximately 1,000 miles.
With the expected journey to take place in the fall, Nevills said the milder temperatures are going to make the trip much more pleasant.
Last summer, there was a day when he pedaled 92 miles on a 110 degree day. He faced three tire blow-outs and triple-digit temperatures on all three days of that trip.
With a big smile, Nevills said his mom is proud of him and his efforts.
"She thinks it's really great – she likes I'm not going in 100 degree weather," he said.
Nevills has four daughters, ages 12, 14, 16 and 17. His family has lived in Carthage since 2006.
"I am so impressed with the generosity of this young man," said Janet Stafford, executive director for the United Way. "I would just have to say that what Jacob is doing makes me feel very humble. He is such a caring and giving person who has health issues of his own but still sees the importance of giving back to his community."
Fans may check Facebook for progress on his journey this October. For more information about the United Way, or to contribute to Nevill's trip, please call 358-2948.