Lynn Halloran Reecer
Aboite New Trails
Fort Wayne, Indiana
"Do not follow where the path may lead but go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Cofounder and president of her organization's board, Lynn Halloran Reecer takes that adage literally. The trails she began blazing in 2001 have resulted in raising $12 million to build 16.5 miles of free multiuse trails in Allen County, Indiana.
Several events prompted Lynn's undertaking. First was when her suburban family of five had to pack up their bicycles to ride a scenic trail in downtown Fort Wayne. "It was such a production, we never did it again," Lynn recalls. The second was when her children could not safely ride their bikes to a new playground in her community.
The third was tragic. A friend of Lynn and her husband, Mark, avid cyclist and family man Ron Repka, 40, was hit and killed by an impaired driver while bicycling on a rural county road one fall afternoon. "I knew something was wrong when you couldn't go out and get some exercise or ride your bike without getting killed. It then became a matter of life and death," Lynn recalls.
Instead of creating trails in scenic out-of-the-way places, her organization put them alongside main roads, thus connecting neighborhoods and providing both safe recreation and transportation."Do you know that 42 percent of all trips people take in their car are a walkable two-mile distance?" she asks.
Using skills honed as a saleswoman for Xerox, Lynn orchestrated the cooperation of other local trail networks and then persuaded local governments to take over maintenance of the trails once they were built. "I approached it like a job," she remembers. Today, with connectivity of a whopping 50 miles of networked trails nearly completed, Lynn finally has time to enjoy them herself. Better yet, she says, "It is a great way to show your children the value of giving back to your community."