In less than one week school opens up and I will see all the students smiling faces as they step off the bus a year older with a hunger to learn. Their excitement and joy motivates me to be the best teacher I can be yet there are another group of individuals preparing for September – cyclists across New York State are training for upcoming Ride for Missing Children (RMC) events.
On September 23, 2011 there are two Ride for Missing Children, a mission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In years past we have traveled to Albany in September for to participate in this ride, this year we are staying closer to home. www.rideformissingchildren.org – Syracuse Ride has surpassed their goal of riders for their first official “Syracuse Ride”.
Event coordinators, Chris Arnold and Susan Bertrand have worked with the various committees to make this year’s ride a success and highlight for Septembers to come. This evening I had the pleasure of meeting Chris and Susan, share a cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts and get to know each other on a more personal level. In addition to getting to know each other, they shared details of ride with joy and excitement. It is contagious. I LOVE the RMC!
As if this meeting wasn’t enough, I was invited to join Chris and Susan for one of their training rides. I was able to meet nearly two dozen riders as they set time aside to train. Their compassion, love, support, and dedication takes my breath away. The pink and blue jerseys, smiles, and camaraderie warm my heart even now as I think about it. I was blessed by the time spent with all the riders.
With the sun starting to nestle in for the evening, it is time for the riders to train. I was invited to share a few words of encouragement for this training ride ~ I pray my words encouraged them and helped them each to see this is more than a 100 mile bike ride ~ it is a mission to educate our children and keep them safe. Thank you riders!
There will be more about the ride in future blogs. I will be joining the riders on Friday morning as they start their trek – as their opening speaker! How exciting! Keep the riders in your prayers and if you would like to help raise posters (every $.25 equals one missing person’s flyer) or to continue providing educational programming in our schools – visit the RMC website. www.rideformissingchildren.org and you can “Like them” on your Facebook page!
Big hugs and kisses to our Albany RMC family - you are in our prayers too! Know that as we are in Syracuse, our hearts and prayers reach all the way to Albany and I plan to share this connection with the riders in Syracuse.
This year’s Ride for Missing Children (RMC) in the Mohawk Valley represents the 15th annual ride. The disappearance of Sarah Ann Wood on August 18th, 1993 was the closest kidnapping had come to our neighborhood, until my one and only sister disappeared that is.
This is the fourth RMC/Mohawk Valley I’ve attended ~ it is amazing to say the least. The outpouring of support and love is encouraging, uplifting and motivating.
I’m always amazed at the organization and dedication of those involved with the planning and coordinating that make this weekend, an event the families look forward to. On Thursday evening, less than twelve hours from the start of the ride ~ the family members of our missing have the option to gather for a “Family Dinner”. It is a time of reunion, fellowship and introductions (the saddest part – there is always someone new to meet). After a half hour of hugs, tears and laughter ~ the official ceremony starts. This year our wonderful (to say the least) family coordinator, Miss Lura welcomed us by sharing her heart for the blessing we are to her and how much she enjoys chairing the family committee.
Then Mr. Frank speaks with a trembling, loving and encouraging voice to share some statistics and facts about this year’s ride in particular. This year there are a record number of recovered children involved in the ride!! Praise God! There is a large number of family members riding their own bicycles, volunteering, watching from afar, or helping in anonymously. The RMC respects the families enough to honor their request in how we will enjoy the day. This year my husband will be helping in the sag wagon – a lot of time and direct contact with the riders while using those muscles to load and unload their bike duffels. As for Mary and I – we’ll ride with the family ~ being encouraged, uplifted and restored through the conversation and friendships coming to life during our journey together. I’m even saying a few words at the closing ceremony – a blessing and honor to be asked. A small way I can thank you on behalf of the families and honor my beloved sister.
Following dinner we return to our hotel rooms for a time of relaxation and more time with our “missing” family. There is a common bond uniting us today and through the year –our missing family members. The spirit and love in the room when we gather gives me goose bumps – we are a family. This is our family reunion weekend. Some may be blessed with their child at their side, returned safely home. Others may have laid their precious child to rest while the majority of us…wait…wait and pray our loved one will be found. Regardless of the status of our missing loved one, we have a common bond and understanding. Sometimes no words are spoken yet we know how the other is feeling.
I don’t have the words to express the families’ (of the missing children) appreciation for everything that is done this weekend and throughout the year to make this weekend a success. In addition to the success of a safe ride, laughter, high hopes, joy, peace and perseverance – funds are raised to continue educating the innocent and finding the missing. Thank you NCMEC/Mohawk Valley and everyone involved!
The RMC started in 1995 with a handful of riders, today there will be around 400 riders joining together to honor all missing and exploited children, raise awareness, raise funds to support NCMEC’s outreaches/poster distribution/education programs and to assist NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), especially in the Mohawk Valley.
A ride that started for one precious twelve year old girl has sparked a mission to keep all our children safe and find our missing. Today’s photo is of a drawing given to my parents by the teachers of New Haven Elementary School. I’ve always loved this picture and admire it daily as I walk through the front door to my parent’s home ~ since joining the RMC family it has an even more powerful connection to my heart.
Pray both Sarah and Heidi and all our other missing children are found! Pray for their families. Pray for the riders today as they pedal their bicycles 100 miles to honor missing children, raise funds for posters and for the education provided to each child in the schools.
God is good and His plan is bigger, better and always right ~ even when we don’t see it, we need to trust Him. Someday I will know where my sister is…in His time, not mine.
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323