Manchester Students Lift 1,000,000 Pounds for Peace

Photo by courtesy of Yvonne Riege
Manchester University students pose for the camera after lifting 1 million pounds for peace. The effort was part of the “3,000 Miles for Peace” campaign of On Earth Peace, in honor of the late McPherson College student Paul Ziegler.

On April 28, a team of more than 15 Manchester University students succeeded in working together to lift one million pounds–for peace. This event was part of the On Earth Peace campaign, 3,000 Miles for Peace. Manchester University is a Church of the Brethren-related school with a main campus in North Manchester, Ind.

Kyle Riege, one of the Million Pounds for Peace organizers, shared, “The efforts of On Earth Peace have always had a special place in my heart. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with them when I was a member of the Youth Peace Travel Team. Now that has ended and I have been aching for a new way to help.”

After hearing On Earth Peace staff Bob Gross speak at a Church of the Brethren event on Manchester’s campus Riege and Sam Ott decided they needed to help. Both are avid weightlifters and have been lifting together for several years. They decided that a Lift-a-Thon would be a great way to get involved and show their support. “Weightlifting is something I have been passionate about for the past five years or so and I figured this would be a great way to help,” Riege said.

During the past several weeks, friends and family members of the lifting team have been pledging their monetary support for the Lift-a-Thon which began on Sunday April 28, a bit after 10 a.m., when various weight-lifters joined forces to pump iron.

The money raised supports the 3,000 Miles for Peace fund started in memory of Paul Ziegler, who had been a student at another church related school, McPherson College in Kansas. Before his untimely death, Ziegler had a dream to ride his bicycle across the country, gathering funds and fellow travelers for world peace along the way. Now many people are working together to do this for him.

Three official lifts were allowed for team effort: squat, dead lift, and bench press. A team of willing volunteers recorded the repetitions of each lifter’s poundage. By noon, these athletes were well on their way to the goal. Together they pumped for considerable progress prior to many taking a well-deserved lunch break.

Together the team kicked into high gear again around 1:15 p.m. Various lifters were spotted and assisted each other throughout their combined effort. Not long after 2 p.m., once all lifters had tallied their totals and turned them in to the recording team, the 1,000,000 pound goal was reached. Together lifters, helpers, and observers joined in a hearty round of applause.

It was a tired but enthusiastic bunch that assembled for a group picture. Afterward, several paused to calculate their own personal achievements. It was interesting to see that this was actually viewed as a secondary accomplishment. One young man was seen heading back to the dead lift area in order to move beyond his own personal goal of 50,000 pounds lifted. “I had to do that!” he said. Another, who had said that he wanted to be sure to do his part for the group, conquered the 150,000 mark. Others were thrilled with all they’d accomplished, and slipped quietly out the door for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. They were appreciative of the excellent help from a team who had been recruited to tear down and clean up the area following the Lift-a-Thon.

Together this was truly a win-win for all. The lifters worked as a unit, but along the way many reached their personal best, and in so doing, succeeded in their effort for the united goal. Over $800 and counting was raised for the On Earth Peace fund. Donations are still welcomed–especially during this week as preparations are made to commemorate Paul Ziegler’s 20th birthday on May 4 at his home congregation Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren (see the Newsline report at ).

— Yvonne Riege is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and a licensed clinical addictions counselor from Wakarusa, Ind. For more information about the Lift-a-Thon contact Kyle Riege at 574-305-0055.

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