by Kyla Hurt
Photos Submitted to The Source
The 3rd annual RED Ride of Central Illinois is scheduled to take place on August 27. The event is a fundraiser, with all proceeds going to help deployed military support groups in the area. Though the ride is predominantly filled with Jeeps and motorcycles, all vehicles are welcome.
RED Ride of Central Illinois is a nonprofit that was started in 2020 by Terry Carnahan, of Ashland. Carnahan is president of the group and talks about how and why he started RED Ride: “The whole reason I started this was … I’m not a Vet, but my father is, most of my uncles, and then a great deal of my friends are, too. So, when our friend went to Afghanistan back in ’19, he was on his fifth deployment, and we were talking with the group [Franklin Waverly Support Group, a deployed military support group] that he was signed up with that would send care packages. They were talking about how they used to send 120 packages a month and then were down to only being able to afford sending around 20 packages a month — and almost everything was coming out of their pockets.”
Carnahan continues, “For me, that’s just not right, you know. If they’re doing this type of work, they should have some help. These are people that are there for all of us … honestly, it was one of those things to where I brought it up and it went to where we are now.”
He says he never really thought it would go this far. Carnahan explains that with the help of Gordon Gibbs, the group’s vice president; volunteers; the committee members and others, it has made it a big deal for them now. He adds, “I’m glad that we can be able to do what we’re doing.”
Their first packing as a nonprofit organization approached $3,000 in shipping costs for 75 individual boxes and seven bigger boxes for the units. That’s using the flat rate boxes. Surprisingly, there is no discount for shipping to military. Cost in 2020 was about $13 per box for shipping. This year, it has increased to almost $27 each.
In its first year, RED Ride raised just over $12,000. In 2021, they raised close to $28,000. “We’ve given out right around $30,000,” says Carnahan.
“We’ve come a long way … we’ve got a whole community that’s really been behind us,” Carnahan notes appreciatively.
The boxes that are shipped to deployed United States military are filled with items such as cosmetics, toiletries, snacks, jerky and more. RED Ride was formed with the intent of supporting the Franklin Waverly Support Group, which sends care packages to deployed United States military. According to Gibbs, “It was a huge success in its first year in 2020.” There were approximately 100 bikes and around 45 Jeeps that took part.
Gibbs continues, “Then, in 2021, we had ever greater success.” Last year’s event had 170 bikes and 85 Jeeps participating. The growing success inspired RED Ride to bring in Springfield Cares Soldier Mailing Group, a group formed by Alice Beck and her husband, Bill; the group does a monthly box packing for deployed members of the U.S. military.
RED Ride of Central Illinois’ fundraising ride on August 27 will include participants from all walks of life, including family and friends of committee members, local Jeep groups and those just wanting to support what they do.
The current RED Ride committee is comprised of Terry Carnahan, Laurie Niemeyer, Vicki Hoffman, Gordon Gibbs, Bryan and Debbie Spencer, Shelley Hannant, Josh and Tanell Meado,
Katrina Boliard, Renee Dhom, Ron Gill and April Harrison. The “RED” stands for Remembering Everyone Deployed. The group’s mission is to support like-minded groups, specific to soldier mailing groups.
Support RED Ride of Central Illinois by purchasing any of their merchandise, participating in their volleyball tournament at The Hangout in Jacksonville on August 6, making financial donations, volunteering for or joining the actual run on August 27, or donating to their grocery drive at Hill Prairie Winery on July 6 (check out the Facebook event “Village of Oakford 150th Celebration With The Day Drinkers Featuring Hipbone Sam). Gibbs says anyone who would like to volunteer, buy merchandise or has questions can reach out to them via DM on the RED Ride of Central Illinois Facebook page.
The ride itself on Saturday, August 27 will begin with a signup that start at 9 a.m. at Bogart’s Banquet Hall, 2142 Old State Rd. in Jacksonville. Participants will receive wristbands that note involvement and biscuits and gravy will be provided. To follow will be a brief ceremony. Gibbs explains, “After we’re led in prayer and the Anthem has been sung, we’ll depart Bogart’s and head to Martin Lanes in Roodhouse.” From there, it’s a series of stops at different places. Corresponding fire departments and 13 different law enforcement agencies are on board to help with traffic flow, safety to keep the day on schedule.
Departure from Bogart’s is planned for 10:30 that morning. The whole day is timed and because of this, “we ask the community to come out and wave their flags … to show their support,” says Gibbs. The group will arrive at Martin Lanes at approx. 11:10 a.m. (stay from 11:07 to 11:57 a.m.), then head south on IL 267 and end up at the American Legion on the fairgrounds in Jerseyville, where burgers and hotdogs will be served (stay from 12:35-1:40 p.m.). Next up is Carlinville with an approximate arrival of 2:15 in the afternoon; they’ll take Rt. 16 across to Carlinville Road and head north to Carlinville’s Moose Lodge. Leaving Carlinville around 3:10 p.m., they’ll end up in Auburn at the Slaughterhouse Brewing Company for the big party, or culmination of the event.
Arrival at the finale in Auburn is anticipated to be just before 4 p.m. Once there, there will be a live auction, a 3-hour set by Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters, food, drink specials, 50/50 winners, raffle winners and more. Gibbs says that a large portion of the Auburn square is roped off for the event.
Gibbs ends saying, “This absolutely could not happen without the volunteers, the group effort from the RED Ride committee, donations, community support and the law enforcement agencies that get us safely through their communities.”
All proceeds will help local deployed military support groups. All are welcome. The cost is $15 per rider/driver and $5 per passenger if pre-registered. Cost day-of the event is $20 per rider/driver and $5 per passenger. Please follow them on Facebook, @REDRideofCentralIllinois, to see upcoming events, pre-register or to send them a message with any questions. See you at the ride.