As the family and friends of Alyiah Morgan continue to pick up the pieces of their lives, still grieving over the loss of the little 7-year-old Union Elementary student whose life was taken far too soon, they will have some help and support from the community through a bike ride benefit that is being held in memory of the youngster.
“The nature of the accident really affected me,” said Ed Ghaul, the man who came up with the idea for the motorcyle ride as a way to help the Morgan family. “The little girl’s mother also works with my fiance. Having children and grandchildren of my own, being a father and a grandfather, it just struck my heart.”
“I’m not an organizer, but I have been riding motorcycles for a quite a while and I have rode in a lot of charity runs,” continued Ghaul. “God just touched my heart and I just had a feeling when I got up one particular morning after the accident happened that this is what I was supposed to do.”
Ghaul, along with family, friends, and the community, has taken that feeling and ran with it, turning his idea into a real event.
The bike ride is scheduled to take place Saturday, May 25. Riders will meet at the old Sampson-Bladen Oil Company location on Hwy. 421 to register which begins at 8:30 a.m. The registration fee will be $20 per bike plus an extra $5 for any passengers.
“By 10 a.m. we will have our kickstands up,” noted Ghaul, explaining that the ride will leave the old Sampson-Bladen Oil site and take U.S. Hwy. 701 to Halls Crossroads, continuing on to Boykin Bride Road and then down Old Mintz Highway. Riders will go to Garland, ride past the old Clear Run School, and take Hwy. 41 to Harrells where they will again travel on Hwy. 421 back toward Clinton.
“We are looking for a lot of participation, a big turnout. I have already had calls from different motorcycle chapters asking about it. so far, I think we have six or seven chapters definitely interested,” Ghaul said.
Before returning to Clinton, the bike ride will stop at the rest area on Hwy. 421 “That’s where we will have the actual benefit,” said Ghaul. “We will be selling barbeque plates for $5. They will include barbecue, potatoes, green beans, slaw, a dinner roll, and a drink.”
T-shirts will also be available for purchase for $10 and attendees can also participate in numerous raffles and door prize drawings.
“It is truly inspirational to see how the Union community has come together to support Alyiah Morgan’s family during this difficult time. We encourage participation in this benefit,” shared Dr. Linda Jewel Carr, principal of Union Elementary School. “Mr. Ghaul indicated that even if you do not ride motorcycles, you can still help with this fundraising effort.”
Numerous businesses and community members have already helped make this bike ride benefit for the Alyiah Morgan family possible. According to Ghaul, Jordan and Hope donated a hog for the barbeque, Southern Style Barbecue donated beans, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Sandpiper seafood are providing slaw, Advantage Auto is offering some door prizes, Bryant’s Florist and JT’s Nails donated gift cards, and Smitty’s Day Spa and Zengs have also given monetary donations.
“What we have gotten from the community so far…I’m just ecstatic. I have never seen people come together so quickly and so much to help out with something like this,” shared Ghaul. “I’m glad to be a Sampsonian. People here are so loving and more than willing to help out and to try and make something right for others in need.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.