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Beautiful weather for 16th Annual Ride For Missing Children Central New York

By GARY LIBERATORE

Nearly 500 bikers took part in the 16th annual Ride for Missing Children Central New York on Friday, delivering a message to hundreds of area school children.

The ride was started by Bob Wood, the father of Sara Anne Wood in 1995. He and six other Central New Yorkers rode 530 miles to Washington D.C. to raise awareness and money to help prevent this from happening to another family.

Sara Anne Wood was just 12 years old in 1993 when she came up missing. Her body has never been found, but her abductor, Lewis Lent Jr. was convicted of her murder in 1997 and is serving a life sentence.

Wood was last seen riding her bicycle at 2:30 p.m. after leaving the Norwich Corners Church on Roberts Road in Frankfort.

Dick Jordan was one of the seven original riders of the Ride for Missing Children, and this year he was a pace shepherd, keeping the bikers safe as they delivered their message from school to school.

"We always emphasize, it's not about a bicycle ride. The bicycle is just symbolic," Jordan said. "Of course, Sara was riding her bicycle when she was abducted, and we just use the bicycle as a means of transportation to carry our message of hope and love to all these school children we visit there."

Among the schools visited by the bikers, Hugh R. Jones School in Utica.

Hughes 5th grade teacher Michelle Diliberto says kids' safety is talked about all week.

"We talk about it with them in class, in preparation for the race, and they get to understand that sometimes, they have to be careful in this world, use safety rules and this race is a big reminder to them of how important that is for them to stay safe," Diliberto said.

Another school the bikers stopped at was Reese Road Elementary in Frankfort, where Frankfort Schools Superintendent Robert Reina says this is a very important event that saves lives.

He says by starting this ride, the Wood family has helped saved other kids' lives.

"I'm confident that that has happened," Reina said. "I'm confident that the awareness that has taken place has really helped other children since. I really do."

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