Abstract: Have you ever decided to do something so different, people thought you were crazy? Yet the path you selected just felt like the right thing to do? What it took to embark on and sustain progress along this unusual path may just reshape the way you look at what REALLY helps, especially the questions you ask yourself and others that can make a difference for your family, your community, and your future.
Background: After not owning a bike since graduating in 1976 from high school, 20-year-Army Veteran Doug Adams decided to purchase a bike in July 2009 to get back in shape. Within weeks, Doug had a vision to embark on a journey to cycle all 50 states in a year for America's veterans, military, and families. He shared it with his wife… 3 weeks later, as she was completing a phenomenal career in the Army, retiring after 30 years. Doug selected one year to do (what soon became known as) the Duty, Honor, America Tour to represent and honor the typical length of deployments we require of our military servicemembers. After setting out 365 days earlier from Watertown/Fort Drum New York, Doug completed the Tour on the Big Island of Hawaii, cycling over 18,000 mi (222 mi on his last day!) and climbing over a half-million feet in elevation, averaging 61 mi each cycle day. Doug’s wife Deb Lewis was the Tour’s CEO- Chief Everything Officer- except cycling, and Doug's one-person support team who drove their patriotic RV and tow-car throughout the lower 48 states, and rented an RV in Alaska and support vehicle in Hawaii. Doug and Deb funded this Tour themselves, using their pensions and home equity because they believed this Tour to be a wise investment in the future of our country. While verifying that most Americans do care about our veterans and their families, Deb and Doug also learned that many were not aware of just how easy it is for them to REALLY help others right where they live. Deb and Doug found plenty of local charities and individuals successfully doing amazing things right now. These heroes can serve even more by learning about each other through dialogue, story-telling and effective questions. Deb and Doug use every opportunity to share their rich experiences, raising awareness of easy and key ways individuals/ organizations/ businesses can contribute their time and talent, while also highlighting ongoing efforts in the local communities they visited to REALLY help our veterans, military and families. Many people and organizations, including the In2:IN Forum members, followed this inspiring couple and their dog Daisy on this blessed journey to help others throughout our Nation. Given the disastrous and often dangerous weather experienced by much of the country this past year, the success of this Tour is remarkable.
Biography: Even though they were classmates at West Point (in the first class with women since 1802), Deb Lewis and Doug Adams first met 17 years after graduation at the Pentagon in 1997. Their relationship evolved from co-workers to friends to husband and wife. (This highly unlikely pairing occurred despite Deb’s earlier public foreswearing to ever again date military men, especially West Pointers, and really especially classmates!!!) With over 60 years of combined military service, they separately held numerous leadership and followership positions in their careers, facing and overcoming many personal challenges to be who they are today. As Deb and Doug’s relationship deepened, they discovered their complementary, yet different approaches to life and learning. Deb’s approach is more experimental (think ‘recon by fire’) versus Doug’s often theoretical (think ‘observation’). Both approaches have offered countless opportunities to serve others in small and large ways over the years. These past 14 years together made it possible for Deb and Doug to take on impressive challenges, such as Deb’s three Engineer District military commands in the U.S. and in Iraq, and Doug’s championing Veterans issues and supporting neighbors during natural disasters. Both also continued their education, with Deb earning a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy and Doug receiving a Juris Doctor. Most recently, they created a non-profit to help them prepare for and complete the Duty, Honor, America Tour, during which Doug cycled over 18,000 miles through 50 states in one year for veterans, military and families with Deb as his one-person support team or CEO (Chief Everything Officer, except cycling) and their dog Daisy as security. Together, Deb and Doug have three children, who remind them what’s really important. Always continuously learning, growing, and taking risks along the way, they’ve joined forces with many talented and like-minded allies to make a positive difference for others. You can certainly relate to Deb and Doug’s diverse experiences, which can inspire and encourage us to bring out the best in each other. For more in-depth biographies, please click on their website link below and also visit their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links found in the top left corner of their website.
Contact: Deb and Doug can be reached by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org, for additional information about this Conference session.
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/pub/debra-lewis/13/869/9b7 and www.linkedin.com/pub/doug-adams/6/553/93b