Be Good™ Foundation Launches in DC
In honor of Veterans Day, Leadville Today brings you an update on a veteran’s story with a Leadville Connection. Be sure to take a moment to honor those who served.
In 2016, Rebecca Rusch’s epic mountain bike journey down the Ho Chi Minh Trail led to her father, Stephen Rusch’s Vietnam War fatal crash site. The adventure is chronicled in the Emmy award-winning documentary “Blood Road,” which has been shown around the world – including Leadville – since its premiere in April 2017.
“This 1200 mile ride was the most important expedition of my life,” says Rusch, who is also the Leadville Trail 100 4x Women’s Champion, as well as the seven-time world champion and endurance record holder. But true to her nature as a person and world-class athlete, throughout the film’s red-carpet phenomenon in 2017, Rusch was also laying the foundation for the vehicle which will forever honor her father’s last words, written in one of his many letters home.
If anything should happen to me, please don’t let me die to Sharon and Becky.
In fact, it is her father’s signature sign-off that has become the guiding compass, as Rusch continues to apply her athletic experience towards fostering community collaborations worldwide. And last Thursday, Nov. 8 that mission reached a new milestone with the formal establishment of the Be Good™ Foundation, destined to keep Stephen’s legacy alive, while making the outdoors a bigger, better, and safer place.
“Establishing this nonprofit foundation allows me to use my bicycle not just for racing and expeditions, but as a vehicle for change,” Rusch continues. “I can’t think of a better place to make this announcement than in Washington, DC.”
The event was held last Thursday as part of a series of special commemorations leading up to Veterans Day, including a screening of Blood Road at the National Archives Museum. Also in attendance was Rusch’s sister, USAF Brigadier General Sharon Bannister who followed in their father’s footsteps by serving – with honors – in the military.
Did you know that Stephen Rusch is also honored at the Lake County Veterans Memorial at Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville? It’s part of the Leadville connection and Rusch’s tether to America’s Highest City as the LT 100 4x women’s champion. Stephen’s name was added in 2016, joining local and veterans from around the world who are commemorated on the granite stone in tribute to their service. For readers who may not know, Rusch is also featured in both “Race Across The Sky” movies and the LT100 also makes an – albeit brief – appearance in her latest documentary. If you still haven’t seen “Blood Road” it’s available on RBTV and Amazon Prime. You can buy it, or stream it. It’s the perfect Veterans Day film for a snowy, cold holiday in Leadville Today.
About the Charity
According to their website, the Be Good™ Foundation will raise funds through outdoor exploration, events, and personal growth programs. These funds will support initiatives that foster opportunity, access, safety and infrastructure in the outdoors as well as the preservation of public lands. Look for funding to build trails and bike lanes in Rusch’s native Idaho, provide access to bikes worldwide, as well as unexploded bomb clearance in Lao.
The Mine Action Team 24, is an all-female group of 12 Laotian deminers working in the Xieng Khoung province of Laos. The ‘Be Good’ fundraising efforts have supported their team for the past four months in the field this year. In that time they have cleared over 30 acres of land and destroyed 61 items of unexploded ordnance.
“There have been so many people who’ve been part of this continuing journey,” Rusch’s posted after the formal announcement last week. “I’m truly grateful for everyone who’s lent a hand and also to people who will join me on this journey in the future. #BeGood | #JoinTheRusch For more info or to support the #BeGoodFoundation.