JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Since the war in Ukraine began in February, people in the Tri-Cities region have been stepping up to help in special ways. A couple of them are really going the distance, using their passion for biking to raise money for Ukraine.

John Redmond and Steve Wheeler are part of the leadership at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church and have always reached out to help others.

“It’s an act of love,” Redmond said. “As human beings, and specifically as Christians, it’s something we’re asked to do, and it brings joy.”

“Steve and I just really had a passion for Ukraine and what’s going on there,” Redmond said.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continued, they felt moved to help.

Redmond is familiar with that area of Europe, having served there as a missionary and planner for about five years in the Czech Republic.

“I have a lot of friends who are from Ukraine, some even live in Ukraine, and those pastors that border Romania and Serbia. Just knowing them and their heart and their passion, and seeing the pain going on in Ukraine, it’s what gave me compassion to do that,” he said.

The men decided their shared pastime was the way they could make a difference.

“It was a good excuse to get on the bike, but it was also a good excuse to raise money for our connectional church that we have over there in the Czech Republic that is helping support Ukraine,” Redmond said.