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HANNA’S DreamRide BY TERI R. WILLIAMS | PHOTOS BY DAWN MCDANIEL OWENS & LARRY DRIGGERS Born in Germany during the war years, Hannah Elshoff eventually came to the United States seeking the American Dream. At 73, she travels the country on her solar-powered bike to thank veterans for saving lives during the war, to promote Lions Club charities, and to have Sunday dinner with Georgia’s former President. “That’s awesome,” I said as I held the picture that showed Hanna having Sunday dinner with former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn. “I was hoping to interview him for an article a couple of years ago.” I’d written several articles for a hometown magazine in his county, but when I contacted the editors with the idea, I learned that his niece had just submitted an article on her uncle. I couldn’t compete with that. “So you didn’t meet him?” asked Hanna. I glanced out the window at Hardware Pizza. A small crowd had already begun to form around her solar-powered bike. “No. But this is even better. I get to write about you instead.” She smiled apprehensively, her eyes questioning how her story compared to the life of the man who had inspired her to become an American citizen. The truth was that I didn’t need to tell a story everyone else had already told. In fact, I became a writer to tell stories like the one that had ridden into our little town of Lyons on a solar-powered bike. When 73-year-old Hanna Elshoff climbed out of the domed-shaped contraption called “The Elf” in downtown Lyons, she had on blue jeans, a purple shirt and jacket to match, a purple newsboy style cap specially made to protect her ears from the wind, and a pair of soft black leather women’s work shoes. Embroidered in cursive on one side of her jacket was “Hanna’s Dream Ride,” and a Lions Club emblem was stitched on the other. A collection of pins from various organizations embellished both hat and jacket, and around her neck, she’d tied a simple white silk scarf. As a child, Hanna would ride her bike through the little German village of Borstel (later annexed into Verden) with her eyes on the horizon. “I could see where the sky comes down. I always wanted to ride far enough to touch the sky,” said Hanna. “In the 50 Toombs County Magazine


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