KINGSTON — Hilary Riedemann can’t believe the lasting effect her grandfather has had on the Wyoming Valley.
The granddaughter of longtime Habitat for Humanity supporter and former president Spencer Martin, Riedemann, of Washington, D.C., took a spin Saturday at Vive Health and Fitness in support of Martin and the Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity.
The fitness center and organization held its third annual “Spin for Habitat,” offering three 50-minute cycling classes to coincide with the organization’s 10th annual Spencer Martin Memorial Bike Ride for Habitat, which will take place Sunday.
“For me as a granddaughter, the fact that people still remember my grandfather 10 years later is pretty amazing, and just goes to show how much he contributed when he was alive,” Riedemann said.
The Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity has been serving the area for 25 years, building as many houses in that time. The organization’s mission is to build simple, decent homes to sell to families who couldn’t qualify for homeownership otherwise, said Habitat Executive Director Karen Evans-Kaufer.
“We build a house in 50 days, which is remarkable, and we do it mostly with volunteers,” she said, adding that Saturdays are typically the organization’s build days.
Currently, Evans-Kaufer said the group is working on rebuilding a home in Pittston for a family of three who also fosters children. Homes built by Habitat for Humanity typically sell for $65,000 with a 20-year, zero percent mortgage term. Homeowners involved in the program must also contribute 200 hours of “sweat equity” before earning their home, which includes assisting in building their future residence. The completed hours later act as a family’s down payment.
“We have lots of people who are in homes who otherwise would not have had the opportunity for homeownership,” she said. “It really does make such a big difference in people’s lives, because if you have stable housing you can think about education and your community, and we really try to improve communities one house at a time.”
Indoor cycling instructor Sean Thompson said he was happy to contribute his time and knowledge for the betterment of individuals and the community. He explained the fitness center partnered with Habitat to give everyone the ability to participate, regardless of ability.
“Indoor cycling is an animal of its own, you can work at your own ability. With a little bit of motivation and a little bit of skill, everyone will get through the class alive and happy,” he said with a smile. “It’s about community — a good cause and people getting healthy.”
As Thompson assisted riders onto their bikes, Riedemann said this year’s event carries a dual meaning. While it was created to honor her grandfather, she will also be thinking about her grandmother, Joan Spencer, who died Wednesday.
For all Martin Spencer did for the Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity and community overall, Joan was right there beside him, she said.
“(Martin and Joan Spencer) were both driving forces in our lives, and they taught us that one of the most important things we can ever do for anybody else is to give back to the community,” she said. “So for us, it’s a way to honor pop-pop, and now grandma, while giving back.”
Proceeds from both the spin event and Sunday’s bike ride will go toward the creation of homes through the Wyoming Valley Habitat for Humanity. In addition to the 35-mile ride across the Back Mountain, a special raffle will be held for a bike valued at $1,000. Around Town Bicycles and Jamis Bicycles sponsored the bike raffle.
The 10th annual Spencer Martin Memorial Bike Ride for Habitat for Humanity will kick off at 9 a.m. Sunday on the Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus.