The motorcycling community, from Williamsburg, Va., to Plant City, Fl., and points in between, came out in force to support the 10th annual Walton EMC charity motorcycle ride.
The ride benefits the Atlanta 2-Day Breast Cancer Walk, a local event that supports Georgia breast cancer survivors and breast health programs. All of the $5,600 raised stays within the state.
Bikers covered 60 miles of scenic Georgia piedmont with a Walton County Sheriff's Office escort. Also assisting to keep the ride moving smoothly was the Morgan County Sheriff's Office and the police departments of Madison and Monroe. Captain Greg Vaughn coordinated the ride route.
During the pre-ride ceremonies, participants saw the cause they came to support brought to life when breast cancer survivor Susan Queen, along with Donna Hester and Eva Ball, presented the national anthem.
Then, ride ambassadors and breast cancer survivors Sherry Horvieth and Hattie Whitlock took the stage.
"Back in 2002, I was one of about 10 Walton EMC employees who thought it was a great idea to have a motorcycle ride for a fundraiser. Little did I know that I would be thanking you this year for helping me with what I've gone through," said Horvieth.
Horvieth was diagnosed with breast cancer during the past year and, after 33 radiation treatments, has a bright prognosis.
"Our rides have raised more than $30,000. Together we've made an impact. But that goes further than the money that's been raised. By coming together as one, we support those fighting the battle as well as remember those who put up a gallant effort," said Horvieth.
Whitlock, a well-known local nurse, revealed that out of her parents' eight daughters, she was the eighth case of breast cancer. She urged women to remain vigilant in frequent self-examination for the disease.
"It's a journey," said Whitlock. "It's a journey no woman should have to take."
Lunch, door prizes, a raffle and special recognitions rounded out the Walton EMC employee-produced ride. An 8- and 78-year old were recognized as the youngest and oldest riders respectively.
The 2013 event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14.