A convoy of cyclists pedaled through Germantown today as part of the Ride of Hope. The six day, 400-mile journey took them through four states, from Utica, NY through Germantown, on route to Alexandria, Va.
The 42 riders are all raising awareness for missing and exploited children and each of the eight teams represents different children. After stopping at Wilson Wims Elementary School in Clarksburg, the team rode south down Frederick Road to the final destination for the day in Gaithersburg. Their ultimate destination will be the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Headquarters in Alexandria, Va.
This year’s ride commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first ride to Washington DC. In 1995, seven men rode their bikes from Utica to Washington, DC in order to raise awareness about the plight of missing children and to bring a message of safety to the people they met along the way. They arrived on the Capitol steps on May 25, 1995, the first National Missing Children's Day. Two years later, inspired by that first ride, a group of 43 riders rode their bicycles 100 miles from Albany, NY to Utica, NY with the same message of safety and awareness.
The Ride of Hope departed from the New Hartford Rec Center in Utica on Saturday, May 15. They rode through Binghamton, NY; Wilkes-Barre, Pa; Harrisburg, Pa; and Gettysburg, Pa. They stopped at four schools along the way, including Wilson Wims Elementary in Clarksburg. At the school stops the riders interacted with the students and faculty with presentations about how to stay safe.
To participate, riders submitted personal reasons for why they wanted be a part of this anniversary ride. They shared what it means to them, how they have been involved with the Ride for Missing Children in the past, how they currently participate, and their future participation plans. This includes a larger commitment like being a part of the planning and organizing committee for the Ride; being part of the Speakers Bureau that educates our children, parents, and teachers; and assisting and volunteering at NCMEC.
“I’m honored and humbled to have been part of this amazing team from day one,” said Dick Jordan, original Team Sara member. “To see how we’ve grown and what we’ve accomplished in twenty years is truly amazing – awareness, funds, posters, educational efforts and most importantly, recoveries of missing children. And although we’ve grown, we’ve stayed true to our roots, our mission. I can’t thank our community enough for being a huge part of who we are and giving us their support.”
Upon arrival at NCMEC, the riders will be welcomed with luncheon and private tour. They will be able to see forensics, imaging, the call center and more, learning how missing kids’ cases are put into action.
Caption: The Ride of Hope came through Germantown on Wednesday, May 20 on route to Alexandria, Va as part of their 400 mile journey to raise awareness for missing an exploited children. The Ride of Hope went down Frederick Road past the iconic Germantown Cider Barrel.
Photo by Germantown Pulse.