To the editor:

Can you imagine riding your bike 70-85 miles a day for 4,500 miles? And doing it in 70 days? That’s just what’s in store for the Texas 4000 cyclists who are pedaling from Austin to Alaska raising money for the American Cancer Society and M.D. Anderson Medical Center. I was lucky to have been a part of this awesome group of college students as they pedaled into Brownwood on Sunday for a stop overnight. My road time with them was brief, but I felt and got a glimpse of what they will endure battling strong headwinds and excessive heat as they challenge the elements to Alaska. They’re on a mission— to find a cure for cancer.

The team’s travel chairman contacted me requesting help for food and lodging after being turned down by the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce. Other towns’ COC have literally rolled out the red carpet for this event and I was so dissappointed to witness a total disregard from some of our city’s businesses, churches and officials. They didn’t even respond to request letters that provided self-addressed stamped envelopes for their replies.

On the other hand, help did come to welcome and host this group from the most unexpected places. I’ve lived in Brownwood all my life and owned and operated businesses here for over 30 years, and I suggest Brownwood change its slogan “Feels Like Home.” In the case of the Texas 4000 that slogan was a mockery of any kind of hospitality. A city’s chamber of commerce most often is the first contact made by outside organizations or individuals. It should make a good impression, because sometimes it takes lots of mouthwash to rinse out a bad taste.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Brownwood Welcome for the Texas 4000 successful.

Vonne Cornett