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Emotional trek for all in this year's Ride for Missing and Exploited Children

It's a movement – every biker is raising awareness – and raising funds to increase efforts to find missing children.

Posted: Jun 7, 2019 11:15 AM
Updated: Jun 7, 2019 5:19 PM

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. -- They ride to cheers, and they ride in silence. Both equally moving experiences for the hundreds of riders participating in the Ride for Missing and Exploited Children.

The 80-mile journey for the ride is nearing its end for riders. Supporters gathered to welcome the ride at Mohawk Valley Community College. And for the first time in many years, it was wall-to-wall sunshine.

It's a movement – every biker is raising awareness – and raising funds to increase efforts to find missing children.

"The crime doesn’t stop after the abuse; it goes on every day for the rest of their lives. So, when you are riding today it’s not just for the missing, it’s for the 77 million people in this country who have been sexually abused."

The ride kicked off at 7:50 Friday morning.

It was an emotional morning for around 500 riders as they began their journey from Troop D Headquarters in Oneida. Their first stop was Staley Elementary School in Rome, where they were given a warm welcome.

"Beautiful day for a ride. You come into these schools, and you just feed off of the kids’ energy, and it’s just a blast,” said Otto Isenberg, from Deerfield.

"Every school that we roll into is really inspiring because obviously we know why we are here and to see them excited it gets your adrenaline pumping, and it gets us feeling really great,” said Daniel Eddy, of Rome.

The ride started back in 1995 to honor Sara Anne Wood, who went missing and still hasn’t been found.

"For me when I was growing up I remember the Sara Anne Wood thing when I was little. And I remember wishing when I was just a little boy that there was something that I could do and to have an opportunity to make a difference in another way. It means a lot,” said Isenberg.

Preparing for the ride takes a lot of time and dedication.

"Learning how to ride in a group is very important because there is so many people and that's different. You also have to raise money for the cause, and it’s also a mental preparedness thing to because it’s a very emotional day,” said Michelle Diliberto, of Whitesboro.

The ride made its way around the Mohawk Valley stopping to pay tribute to missing children at schools throughout the area, the Maynard Fire Department giving them a warm welcome as they passed through Marcy.

Each rider individually riding for one missing child, but as a group they’re riding to make children safer – one child at a time.

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