Dr. Olen Greer, professor in the School of Accountancy, is currently featured as the March Faculty Spotlight on the Missouri State Public Affairs website. Greer is being recognized for his 25-year participation in the MS 150 and dedication to raising awareness about Multiple Sclerosis.
By Stacey Trewatha-Bach
Olen Greer doesn’t consider himself a ‘cyclist’, yet he and his bike have traversed nearly 4,000 miles in the name of friendship and a cause. September 6-7, 2014 will be Olen’s 25th consecutive ride as captain of the “Roger’s Riders” team in the MS Bike: Ozarks Ride 2014 Bike-A-Thon (previously known as the MS 150). The debilitative realities of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) made its first impact on Olen in 1980 when Roger, his close friend, MSU alumnus, and team’s namesake was suddenly diagnosed with MS. Having been a recreational rider for many years, it was in 1989 that Olen’s nephew contacted him about trying to complete the MS 150 – and the rest is history.
The purpose of the more than 100 nationwide Bike MS rides is to raise money for multiple sclerosis research and other services supported by the National MS Society. The rides typically take place over the course of two days and are generally around 150 miles long. Bike MS events aim to pull the whole community together by gathering support from local businesses, elected officials, residents and people living with MS. “Roger’s Riders” are part of the Ozark’s branch of the Mid America Chapter where their annual two-day ride passes through Missouri’s prairie and into the scenic Ozarks countryside traveling from Clever to Joplin and back. The Ozarks branch is ranked 3rd in the country in fundraising efforts, with Olen alone raising over $6,000 last year.
To keep his 25 year consecutive run alive, Olen himself has had to overcome multiple health issues, such as kidney disease and major injuries incurred during a five bike accident in the 2012 Bike-A-Thon. However, every spring he starts his bike training routine no matter the pain or consequence. “I’ve been blessed with a high tolerance for pain,” Olen says. “Completing the MS Bike-A-Thon is cause driven and an intense personal commitment that I keep as an annual goal for myself. Last year, I rode 180.2 miles in 2 days.” Olen’s team consists of friends, associates and family members, including his son Steven, who wears a leg prosthesis, and his sister, Eva.
For his inspiration, his dedication to raising awareness for MS and his leadership in community involvement, we are proud to recognize Olen Greer as the March 2014 Public Affairs Faculty Spotlight! Happy Silver Anniversary!