Saturday was the day organizers of the Devin Lee Parsons Never Be Forgotten Ride have been patiently waiting to see.
A line of more than 100 motorcycles dotted the parking lot of the Greensburg Knights of Columbus. They came from the Tree City and multiple surrounding towns mounted upon “steel horses”as varied as their riders, but it was the mutual mission of raising awareness of child abuse that had brought them together.
That’s been the goal all along for Bob Parsons, his three brothers, and their spouses since the death of their great-nephew in 2011.
When Devin died at the hands of his mother and her then-boyfriend just over two years ago, Parsons family members knew they had to do something to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.
Bob went about creating t-shirts and organizing a motorcycle ride intended to raise awareness that took place that September. He joined with New Directions and helped forge the Devin Lee Parsons Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Foundation, a non-profit that funds educational materials and the like aimed at ending violence against children. He spoke on radio stations and Indianapolis news programs, and brought in child advocates and domestic abuse prevention experts for two (thus far) candlelight vigils.
On Saturday, the roar of 100 bikes showed the message is not only getting through, it’s growing.
Under an escort provided by Sheriff Greg Allen and several of his deputies, the bikers rode through town en route to different destinations in surrounding counties. Onlookers stopped to wave and motorists pulled aside to let the throng of riders through. Those passersby may not have know the purpose of the motorcyclists any more than they knew the boy who inspired it, but they certainly took notice.
And in doing so, there was proof that Devin Lee Parsons has most certainly not been forgotten.
Saturday’s ride was cut a bit short due to rain in Columbus, but the rest of the day seemed to go off without a hitch.
Eric Capper, a member of the Knights of Columbus Chapter 1042 who helped organize this year’s ride alongside a “super raffle” and a silent auction, stated he was happy with Saturday’s turnout and hoped that both he and his organization could be a part of the ride going forward.
In all, more than $3,000 – and possibly closer to $4,000 when all is said and done – was raised for the Devin Lee Parsons Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Foundation. This marks the largest total for the ride yet and a significant accomplishment in the less than two-year history of the non-profit organization.
Final numbers were not available by press time Monday.
Bob Parsons said approximately 300 individuals attended the bike ride and subsequent hog roast at the Knights of Columbus.
While there, folks lined up to place bids on a variety of items in a silent auction. Indianapolis Star reporter Tim Evans, a former Daily News staff writer who covered the Parsons case, provided music with his band. Later in the evening, popular local act Catfish Davis’ Funk ‘n Blues took the stage.
Those in attendance also listened to a recording of “In Devin’s Name,” an original song by Greensburg resident Jimmy Yorn and his grandson, Hayden Bundren. Christopher Mozingo, Devin’s best friend, once again read a poem he wrote following Devin’s death.
In all, 103 riders participated Saturday, a total that more than doubled last year’s effort.
Bob Parsons gave thanks to each and every one of the dozens of sponsors, offering special gratitude to his wife Jackie, his brothers and his sisters-in-law. Eric Capper added his appreciation for Budd’s Barbeque who offered timely help in preparation for the hog roast. Both Parsons and Capper also spoke highly of the Sheriff’s Department for the escort and the Greensburg Police Department for their assistance with traffic during the ride.
Preparations are already underway on next year’s ride, for which Capper and the Knights of Columbus hope to lend a hand.
“Hopefully, we’ll stay partners on this for a long time,” he said.
Next year’s ride is planned for Saturday, June 28, 2014.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056