Jerry Beckwith has been described as a "giant among men" and "a member of the clean plate club of life." Whether in his career or in his athletic pursuits, he pushed his limits and left no stone unturned. He wanted to be the best kayaker he could be and led many people on their first kayak trips down the rivers in this area. Jerry considered his many friends one of his greatest gifts. Jerry believed in people, encouraging them to follow their hopes and dreams. He wanted them to succeed. He became a legend on the river and in the hearts of many.
When he returned to road biking in 2004, he did so "to see how good I can be." When asked "how did you win marathons and triathlons, what goes though your head; how do you push yourself?", he replied, with a smile, "I learned how to suffer." Perhaps it was all in preparation for his greatest challenge, ALS, with which he dealt with amazing courage. From the beginning he squeezed as much joy out of his life as was possible. He fulfilled dreams of traveling to France in July, 2005 and riding his bike on roads that would make the healthiest person crumble. He never backed down to his illness, often stating "I want this day to be the best possible."
He openly shared his thoughts with many of us via email. He moved us to tears and made us proud to be his friend. The essence of Jerry's spirit is courage and perseverance. The Baddle represents this with a challenging race and in raising awareness about a debilitating disease. We must carry on this legacy for Jerry and fight to overcome ALS. We gather to remember Jerry's strengths: his love for life, his love for a challenge and his love for hanging out with his friends, enjoying music and a beautiful day.