For the third year now, riders and drivers from Sampson County and the surrounding areas are preparing to take to the roads of Sampson County on May 4 with their cruisers, sports bikes, and classic cars, all to help Tim’s Gift, Inc. as it works to help others in their time of need.
The Ride and Drive Hope Rally supports Tim’s Gift of Clinton, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients, particulary cancer and hospice patients, and their families with medical needs, ranging from medical bills to medical equipment.
“That’s what the Hope Project is all about — helping Sampson County people with their medical expenses,” said Becky Spell of Tim’s Gift
Spell explained that one thing they do is recycle medical equipment and provide it for those who cannot afford new equipment, especially when it is not covered by insurance or Medicare.
“We also assist people who need financial help,” continued Spell, noting that when people are sick or injured, and possibly out of work, the bills can start piling up quick and it is easy to get behind.
Donnie Batts has recently experienced the compassion and generosity from Tim’s Gift firsthand.
In early February, Batts, a lifelong construction worker, was working on building a two story recreation shelter. As he was up on a beam helping to put the first truss into place when, according to him, “the truss got away from us and it threw me off the building.”
“The impact just went all through me,” recalled Batts of his fall. “It crushed my feet, me heels. My right ankle basically exploded.”
Batts stayed in the hospital at UNC-Chapel Hill for eight days and had reconstructive surgery on his right foot.
“I was told I might lose my feet. I was told I would probably not walk again,” said Batts. “I didn’t want to hear that.”
Amazingly, after three months in a wheelchair, Batts is up and getting around with a walker.
“I have had friends that did similar work and fell like I did and they didn’t make it. The doctors told me that I was lucky to be alive,” said Batts. “But I don’t think luck had anything to do with it.”
As he continues to recover, Batts is thankful for Tim’s Gift and all the ways they help those in need.
“Tim’s Gift has done so much for me and it’s not just financial. They donated a chair for me ad then just helped me on a personal level,” shared Batts. “Becky is a wonderful person and her just being there to talk with me has meant a lot. It helps build you up when somebody takes the time to talk with you, listen to you.”
“I just went and saw Becky earlier and it just touched my heart, her and those kids coming out to see me,” continued Batts as he described how Becky and children from the Learning Station gathered around to pray for him. “I mean, it touched my heart and made me feel so good. They’ve been praying for me and it was like they had known me all my life.”
As a motorcycle rider and now a beneficiary of Tim’s Gift, Batts is expected to attend the Ride and Drive Hop Rally and share his testimony with the other participants and the community.
“I was a little nervous when Becky asked me (to speak). I kind of put it on the back burner, but I’m going to do it. I’m used to speaking in front of my motorcycle club (the Clinton chapter of the Confederate Riders) but I’ve never done public speaking in front of a lot of people. I think I can do it though,” said Batts. “I’m going to to do it for Becky and Tim’s Gift because they’ve been there for me.”
According to Spell, Batts’ testimony will help highlight the hope that Tim’s Gift seeks to provide.
Although there is a registration fee, “the Ride and Drive Hope Rally is not really a fundraiser. It’s more about community awareness,” said Spell. “It is to bring awareness to Tim’s Gift while also promoting Sampson County. We want to get the word out and give people the opportunity to be a part of something important.”
As far as the money that is raised from the event goes, Spell stressed that “100 percent goes to Tim’s Gift which puts it right back into the community to help our people.”
Last year, 35 riders and drivers came out to rally and Spell hopes more will join them this year. “Although it is a local event, it is sometimes difficult to get people on board.”
To reach more people with their message of help and hope, Tim’s Gift has decided to hold the rally in conjunction with the kick off of the Farmers’ Market. “The Farmers’ Market is a great community event and we want to make the community more aware of Tim’s Gift and our efforts so we thought it would be a good thing to do. We think it will help make the kick off and our rally more exciting. People bring excitement.”
For those participating, the ride will be a tour of sorts through a portion of the county. Riders and drivers will leave Clinton from the Farmers’ Market at 10 a.m. and head to Garland. They will then travel to Harrells and return to Clinton on Hwy. 421.
This year, the ride will make its pit stop at King’s Crossing, the antique car museum owned by David and Jeannie King that is located near Ingold.
“We have antique cars, gas pumps, gas signs, all the old service station stuff,” said King. “We also have a soda shop, a house filled with antique toys, stuff from the 1930s and 40s on up to the 60s.”
This year will mark the first time that the Ride and Drive Hope Rally has made its pit stop at King’s Crossing. “We thought it would be nice to open it up to Becky and all the riders because she and Tim’s Gift work so hard for others. This is something we could do for them,” King noted.
When the riders and drivers return to Clinton, a home-cooked meal will be waiting for them at the First Baptist Church.
Having supported Tim’s Gift before his accident, Batts encourages everyone, now more than ever, to come out and show their support this year.
“I especially challenge all the bikers to support it. I’ve already talked to my guys (in his motorcycle club) to mark it on their calendars. It’s not showing weakness to feel this way. I never thought I’d feel this way but this,” said Batts gesturing at his feet, “is life-altering. Riders need to come and show their support because they don’t ever know if they might need help one day like I’ve needed.”
The Ride and Drive Hope Rally for Tim’s Gift will be held Saturday, May 4, starting at the Farmers’ Market in Clinton. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. with the ride following at 10 a.m.
The cost per bike or car is $20 and the cost per passenger is $5.
To pre-register or to find out more information about Tim’s Gift and the help they offer, please visit www.timsgift.com.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.