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Ride to Recovery: Cyclists to raise hurricane relief revenue

By Chris Moore

chris.moore@panews.com

 

BEAUMONT — Disaster and Humanitarian Services, a Houston-based charitable organization, will host Ride to Recovery Rebuilding Port Arthur on Saturday to raise funds to help those recovering from Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey.

Richard Johnson, case management area supervisor for the group, spoke before the Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court about the upcoming event Monday.

“We have about 100 cases we can close with this ride,” Johnson said. “There are over 200 homes that need replacement or are in need of serious repair, those we won’t be able to close with this particular event. What we are trying to do is get the word out that long-term recovery in Port Arthur and Jefferson County still has a significant need.”

Johnson said participants do not need to be avid bike riders to participate in the event, but noted that he has been practicing.

Johnson said former professional athletes from the area will also attend, including former NFL players Danny Gorrer, Mark Clayton, Herman Fontenot along with former NBA player Stephen Jackson.

“One of the things I did not know is that Port Arthur and Beaumont have more retired NFL players than any other city in the state of Texas. We reached out to a lot of the NFL players and they are coming out. They are going to do a cook off and (Precinct 3) Commissioner (Michael) Sinegal said he will be the judge.”

“We still have about 410 families who are still suffering, with about 54 percent of those needing home repair and about 59 percent of those still needing furniture, appliances and those sorts of things that where flooded out.”

Johnson said the bike ride can go a long way to closing a quarter of the cases they have.

“I’m not a professional rider,” Johnson said. “However, I’ve been practicing so that I can finish the ride. I don’t want to be one of the organizers of the ride and not be able to finish it. I’ve been riding the trail.”

The ride will have multiple routes to suit riders’ preferences with a 14, 28 and 56-mile ride.

Johnson said he looks forward to bringing closure to all of the cases they have.

“This is a good cause because it gives people hope,” Sinegal said. “When you get those calls and all people need is a deep freezer, they are desperate just for that deep freezer. This is going to allow them to close out a lot of cases.”

Sinegal said he is a big supporter of the event, but will not participate.

“I will not be riding a bike, but I will be riding a golf cart and handing out water to the riders,” he said laughing.

The festivities will kickoff at The Pavilion, 501 Proctor St., Port Arthur at 8 a.m. and will wrap up at 4 p.m.

Information: disasterprogram.org or call 409-548-0166.