COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Clintonville resident rode his unicycle along the Olentangy Trail for about eight hours Saturday in an effort to help a woman who has been living in sanctuary in a Columbus church for more than two years.
Tom Schneider is a unicycle rider who specializes in long-distance rides to raise money for non-profit organizations and people in need.
Edith Espinal is a mother who has been living in sanctuary at the Columbus Mennonite Church for more than two years after receiving a final deportation order from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Schneider saw recent coverage of Espinal’s plight and decided to try to help.
“We serve to protect our freedoms,” Schneider, an Army combat veteran, said in a press release. “My grandfather came here from Germany for a better life, as did Edith. Then suddenly that freedom is threatened. It’s just not right.”
Schneider pledged to ride his unicycle 50 miles in order to raise funds for Espinal’s living expenses and legal fund.
Espinal was fined nearly half a million dollars in July for failure to leave the country. ICE withdrew the fine last month.
“ICE has demonstrated with this that they have the power to exercise discretion. The same way they can use discretion to drop these fines, they can use it to release the sanctuary families,” said Lizbeth Mateo, Espinal’s lawyer, in a press release.
Schneider set off for his ride at 7:45 a.m. from the Mennonite church.