(11/1) I recently had the pleasure of being a part of the 9th Annual Scotty’s Ride, and I hope the words on this page can even come close to expressing how inspired I was as a result of this incredible event and the gracious, loving, kind-hearted individuals who made the event such a success.
Started by Kerry and Valerie Shorb in 2006, Scotty’s Ride is a fundraiser that brings hundreds of people together to raise awareness and give support to families of children with life-threating illnesses and ongoing medical financial struggles. This year’s event, as each has done in past years, brought together those who are somehow affected by cancer and other
life-threatening illnesses, whether they themselves are affected or a family member or friend is affected, and those who just want to support such a noble and important cause.
These are the selfless, caring, and generous people who make events like Scotty’s Ride become a reality, and also help them grow and impact more lives with each passing year.
Connie Burrier, who returned to Scotty’s Ride this year for the third time, is a close friend of Kerry and Valerie. She sees the hard work and dedication that they put into planning this event each year, and she is there without hesitation to support her friends and also the cause.
Lee Koontz has attended Scotty’s Ride "a good half dozen times." Koontz grew up in Emmitsburg, so this local event holds a special place in his heart. "Emmitsburg generally does a good job of taking care of their own," he said. "I think this fundraising event is a great example of that."
Robert Hensley of Thurmont joined us for his sixth Scotty’s Ride this year. Hensley knew the parents of Scotty Harbaugh, who was the great nephew of Kerry and Valerie and the inspiration for the original Scotty’s Ride event. An attendee of the very first ride, Hensley values the "sense of community, the beautiful ride, and the good people" that Scotty’s Ride
Kathy McCabe appreciates the "greater awareness of the cause and the camaraderie of the group" that attends each year, a group that is rapidly growing as the years progress. To her, this event fosters awareness of the cause, but it also raises awareness for motorcyclists and how much they give back to the community.
This was the first year that Charlie and Doug Novic participated in the event after hearing about it through friends who have participated in the past. They were drawn to the fact that this local event strikes such a positive chord within the community and the surrounding areas. "It’s hard to go wrong with a local event that benefits children and their
families," said Doug. He went on to explain, "The cohesiveness and camaraderie of Scotty’s Ride brings us to a unified cause. People can get together, get to know each other, have a good time, and support a great cause—it’s hard to say no to that!"
It was also the first time Stephanie Miller attended Scotty’s Ride, but even before participating she could see what draws people back to the event each year. "I love participating in anything that brings the community together and raises money for a good cause," she explained. "The satisfaction of knowing someone in need will be helped through your
support—that’s why people come."
Also joining the event for the first time were Don and Edie Drucktenis. Along with Scotty’s Ride, they have participated in the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation Ride, among others. Edie explained, "Any time you see a group represent a cause and stand up for it, it makes other people curious. It brings even more attention to the cause. Scotty’s Ride shows that
motorcyclists often ride for a purpose—it busts the stereotypes and shows that we are here to support a cause."
To Wayne and Rhonda Schrader, who have attended Scotty’s Ride four and three time respectively, the event is so special because it allows them to "help others while building friendships."
After participating in her first Scotty’s Ride, Kelly Moore explained that the event brings "fellowship and friendship." Emmitsburg resident Joan Elower accurately described Scotty’s Ride as "a big family reunion." Mark George, who has been with Scotty’s Ride from the start, claimed that he "wouldn’t miss it for the world." Obviously, Scotty’s Ride has inspired
a caring, charitable mission that draws more and more people each year.
After participating in Scotty’s Ride for three years, Grafton Bruce explained, "Any time we can give money to kids who need it, we do it. Any time. We all work hard for our money, so we want to put it towards a good cause like the ones that Scotty’s Ride supports."
Kathy Greene has participated in Scotty’s Ride for six years. To Greene, "it’s all about helping someone else." She explained, "Motorcycle riders do a lot of good things for a lot of people. We always try to give back." Greene is a member of Toop’s Troops, which has participated in countless rides that benefit various causes. Everywhere I looked, I saw someone
from Toop’s Troops, proud to represent their group and proud to be a part of this meaningful event. The amount of support contributed by Toop’s Troops, along with the support of all other participants, was incredible to see.
Mark Zurgable has been an attendee of Scotty’s Ride since it began nine years ago. "I’ve been here for every one because the money goes to such a good cause—that’s why I ride," he said. "It’s all about the cause." Zurgable also appreciates the togetherness of seeing people he doesn’t get to see all year long. He, like all the participants of Scotty’s Ride, has
formed close bonds and friendships with the fellow riders. "You see some of the same people every year, but there are always new people each year. It’s amazing to see how many people come out for this event," said Zurgable. "Motorcycles bring people together—and so does this wonderful cause. We get to make new friends and help people in the community—that’s what
it’s all about."
Wild Dog from Columbia, Maryland joined us this year for his first Scotty’s Ride, and his description of the event perfectly captures its true meaning: "It’s about different folks who are from different venues of living, have different bikes, and face different experiences, joining together for a common cause."
While each individual’s support means the world to those in need, a special chord was struck when I spoke with those who have family members affected by cancer. Kim Westerholm and John Duchaj both joined Scotty’s Ride for the first time this year. Westerholm’s sister is currently battling cancer, which is her primary motivation and inspiration for supporting
this cause. Duchaj’s youngest brother passed away of cancer, so he explained, "Any time I can help, I do."
Kelly Douglass lost her sister to leukemia at a very young age. To Douglass, Scotty’s Ride holds a special meaning because she can participate on behalf of her sister. David Meyer and his wife Donna decided to come to this charitable event two years ago after their grandson was diagnosed with leukemia in January of 2013. "We try to keep providing support in
whichever way we can," said Meyer.
These personal links make the mission of Scotty’s Ride that much more personal, relatable, and real.
These names are just a small selection of the hundreds of individuals who participated in this year’s Scotty’s Ride.
While the participants agreed that supporting the cause is by far the most important aspect of the event, everyone also agreed that the beautiful ride is another major draw to Scotty’s Ride. I could see in each person’s eyes the enthusiasm about riding to the various stops and taking in the stunning scenery along the way. As the rumble of the lead motorcycle
traveled across the parking lot and the ride was about to begin, I saw all heads turn towards the sound, eager to start their ride.
The ride brought individuals from all across the country to the town of Emmitsburg. No matter the distance or the weather, people always seem to come back for Scotty’s Ride. They were reunited with friends they met at past events and they are able to meet new friends every year. They are eager to ride and see the beautiful scenery, and that includes suffering
through less-than-ideal weather conditions to make it to the event in the first place. Participants were discussing how the weather this year was different in the various areas in which everyone lives, showing just how vast and widespread the support for this event is, and the potential for growth it has in the future.
The seemingly simple parts of this event are what seemed to stand out to me the most: the pre-ride prayer that asked the burden be lifted from these struggling families, even if just by a little bit, the fact that many participants came back to Kerry and Valerie’s home the next day to help clean up, and some donated back their monetary winnings to further
support the cause.
An extremely touching moment during the after-party at Kerry and Valerie’s home was the performance of an original song written about Scotty. Brother and sister Drew and Emma Richardson, the singers who wrote and performed the song, created captivating, thoughtful lyrics to commemorate the life of Scotty and the lasting impact he has had even after his death.
The song included phrases such as, "Your spirit lives on, you’ll never be forgotten," and, "We will ride through the day, offer you all in your name." The song was a beautiful tribute to Scotty, and a wonderful reminder of why the event has become such a success. It was a heartfelt expression of love that touched us all deeply.
There was no hesitation when I asked why everyone participates in the event—they do it for their families, for their friends, and for the good cause.
"In the name of one child, we ride for many." The participants of Scotty’s Ride live out this motto every day, and I am so glad I was able to witness their compassion and generosity firsthand.
I encourage you all to become involved with Scotty’s Ride. Your eyes will be opened to the good we can all do for the community when we work together and unite with a greater purpose. Every dollar makes a difference, and every participant raises awareness. Each of us can help provide even just a small amount of support for these families, and that small bit of
support can result in an immeasurable amount of hope.
It’s about using your passion to make a positive difference and help those in need.
For more information about Scotty’s Ride or
to make a donation, please visit www.scottys-ride.org.
Read other articles by Kathryn Franke