By TRAVIS MORSE email@example.com
---- — WOODLAWN — The Ninth Annual J. Kyle Price Memorial Ride will be held Saturday, April 26, and organizers are hoping for a large turnout.
In the past, the ride has drawn as many as 258 participants. Last year, it rained on the day of the event, but even with the bad weather nearly 150 people took part.
Marine Lance Cpl. J. Kyle Price of Woodlawn passed away at the age of 19 while serving in Iraq. He died in January 2006, after being fired upon near Ar Ramadi, Iraq.
John Hunsell of Woodlawn, Price’s stepfather and the ride’s co-founder, said the event has grown into a major celebration honoring not just Price but all those who serve in the military.
The ride is also an annual fundraiser for the Kyle Price Memorial Foundation.
“It brings awareness to the people who have served past and present, and (those who) will serve in the future,” Hunsell said. “It’s to honor them and bring awareness to why we have the freedoms that we do.”
This year’s ride is sponsored by Dale’s Harley Davidson and all “street legal” vehicles are welcome. Primarily motorcycles take part, but cars and trucks are allowed as well, Hunsell said.
The ride will be led by the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club, which is made up of former and current Marines.
The first memorial ride took place three months after Price’s death in 2006.
Rachel Hunsell of Woodlawn, Price’s younger sister, was only 14 at the time of her brother’s death. She said having the annual ride has been therapeutic for Price’s family and the community as a whole.
Those who take part in the ride are dedicated and loyal, she said, and come to the event “rain or shine.”
“The dedication that we see is just overwhelming,” Rachel said. “It’s wonderful to see the community continue to come together and that they haven’t forgotten my big brother.”
Proceeds from the ride go to the Kyle Price Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships to area students, gives money to Price’s Woodlawn Boy Scout Troop 102, and supports area military organizations.
This year, the foundation plans to give three to four $500 scholarships to Woodlawn High School students. In addition, the foundation will provide a $250 scholarship to a Jefferson County high school student and a $250 scholarship to a Marion County high school student.
“It helps us a lot to be able to give back,” Rachel said.
Registration for this year’s ride takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. April 26, at the Chapman Sports Complex in Woodlawn, followed by an opening ceremony at 11:45 a.m.
Participants will then leave Woodlawn at 12:30 p.m. and arrive at Fairview Park in Centralia at around 1 p.m. for a ceremony and light lunch.
The group departs Centralia at 2:30 p.m. and travels to the veterans memorial in Salem for a ceremony at 3 p.m. They will then leave Salem at around 3:30 p.m. to arrive at Dale’s Harley Davidson in Mt. Vernon by 4:15 p.m.
At Dale’s, there will be a closing ceremony, dinner, raffles and entertainment provided by the band South of 70.
The cost of the ride, a T-shirt, dinner and entertainment is $25 per person. To purchase a ticket for just dinner and entertainment at the door at Dale’s is $10. An additional T-shirt costs $15 each.
The ride will receive a full police escort by Jefferson County Sheriff Roger Mulch and other area law enforcement agencies.
John Hunsell said foundation officials would like to give a special thank-you to Mulch for his years of support for the memorial ride.
“Over the years, he’s always been there,” Hunsell said of Mulch.
For more information on the event, contact John Hunsell at 978-4738, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.jkpmemorialfoundation.org.