A record 16 motorcycle riders will be involved in the sixth annual "Scotts Ride for Miracles" which benefits the Childrens Miracle Network at Midtown Medical Center in Columbus.
From May 2-23, the men will ride through 48 states to raise money and raise awareness of the work of Childrens Miracle Network hospitals.
The Miracle Riders plan to visit patients at several CMN hospitals along the way. They also will contribute to a blog to journal their experiences and will send daily videos of their travels.
To date, the ride has raised more than $650,000 to purchase equipment for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Childrens Hospital at Midtown Medical Center. Scott Ressmeyer, co-owner of Countrys Barbecue, made the first trip by himself to commemorate his 50th birthday and it has continued to grow.
I never thought a bike ride across the country could have such an impact, he said, Wednesday.
He said to go into a hospital and see the concerned look in the eyes of parents is all the motivation any rider needs.
Joining Ressmeyer, will be Rick Stinson, Brian Brock, Kevin Simms, James Leatherwood and Billy Edmundson, all of Columbus; James Cole, Brad Hansen, David McNeil and Steve Tennant, from Midland, Ga.; Mike Jolley, Hamilton, Ga.; Mike Langford and Ken Tidwell from Cataula, Ga.; Gary McDowell, Manchester, Ga.; Mike Cunningham, Opelika, Ala.; and Ronnie Wilson, Salem, Ala.
In addition to taking time off work and funding all personal expenses associated with the ride including hotels, meals and gasoline, each of the riders is committed to raising at least $2,500 to participate in the nearly 9,000-mile trek across the United States.
Six of the men have never made the trip before.
The riders come from different walks of life. For example, Mike Jolley is the sheriff of Harris County, Rick Stinson is a retired police sergeant, Ronnie Wilson is the owner of Rons Barber Shop, James Leatherwood is a writer at Aflac, David Tidwell is the quality director for PCI and Steve Tennant is the senior donor recruitment representative for the blood services division of the American Red Cross.
Riding for the second consecutive year is Brian Brock, the market manager with Grainger in Columbus, an industrial supply company. He rides in honor of his daughter Laine who who died at the age of 5 at Midtown Medical Center.
Thanks to a request by Brock, the Grainger Foundation, an independent, private foundation based in Lake Forest, Ill., has donated $50,000 to this years ride.
Brock presented the check to CMN on Wednesday.
Brock enjoyed his ride last year and said he did not know how anybody could take part in something like this and not do it again.
When you visit the hospitals and met the patients and staff and put a face to the cause, well, its something you just have to do.
He said the guys on the ride become a brotherhood
I didnt know any of the guys I rode with last year. We bonded and now were brothers. Ive never been in the military but I guess the brotherhood is close to this .
Once you ride, you are always a member, Jolley said.
For Jolley, it is his fifth ride.
I just like bringing awareness to this great cause, Jolley said.
He said he is just as excited about this trip as he was the first time he went.
I am really looking forward to it, Jolley said.
Ressmeyer said the goal is to eventually hit $1 million. in 10 years. He is confident that goal will be reached.
The generosity of Americans is unsurpassed, he said.