9,000-mile trek to help defeat Alzheimer’s

Charlie Barnard, a Matlock Tire Service & Auto Repair community relations representative, and his wife, Teresa, are embarking on a 9,000-mile Mary Ann Ruppert Ride To Remember motorcycle ride to Alaska and back to raise money to help beat Alzheimer’s.

“It will be our seventh (ride) for charity,” Charlie said. However, ”This is the first time we named a ride after a person.”

He explained Mary Ann Ruppert died of Alzheimer’s in 2020, and since her husband has been a supporter, “we named the ride after her.”

The Barnards’ first motorcycle ride was in 2013, and they have had seven motorcycle and bicycle rides since.

“The money raised is going to be split between two non-profit organizations: OUR PLACE Alzheimer’s respite care in Tellico Village, that will get 50 percent, and the other 50 percent goes to Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service,” he said.

“We’re the only two who are doing the 9,000-mile, round trip. There are some others that are going as far as Evansville, Indiana, where our first night is,” Charlie added.

Donations will be accepted “at the departure lunch Sunday, June 25 (following a 10:30 a.m. worship service). There will be quite a few motorcyclists there because we’re having the Blessing of the Bikers at our church, Wildwood Baptist in Maryville,” he said. “We’re hoping for 40 or 50 motorcyclists who will actually start out with us. We have a police escort.

“We will return for a return dinner 5 p.m., July 19, at Tellico Village First Baptist Church,” Charlie added. “Our former church that we retired from (TVFBC) and our present church that we’re helping to get on their feet are working together on this.”

First Baptist Church Lenoir City is a corporate sponsor, along with Matlock Tire.

“It’s kind of a neat thing to have multiple churches involved,” Charlie said. “Jimmy Matlock (owner) has been a big supporter for us for every fundraiser we’ve ever done.”

Other sponsors include Chic-fil-A in Lenoir City; Alcoa Good Times, a motorcycle shop; Hickory Construction in Alcoa; Garza Law Firm; Tom Hatcher Charity; Michael Ruppert; Power Faith Radio; and WFIV 105.3.

“Helping with respite care for Alzheimer’s is near and dear to our hearts,” Charlie said. “We have family who have been affected by Alzheimer’s, and we know what it’s like to be caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s.

“We’ve been helping with Aunt Wilda’s care,” he added. “Someone wrote and book, and it’s absolutely true. The title was ‘If You’re a Caregiver for Alzheimer’s, You Have a 36-Hour Day.’

“I think there’s a lot of truth in that. So, this is a way for us to help people who are caregivers – by giving to these two organizations.

Charlie said sponsorships are on a per mile basis.

“So, if they give a penny per mile, that’s $90,” he added. “And, we also have our corporate sponsors. They give a flat fee.

To contribute to the ride or for more information call OUR PLACE, 865-657-7222; SCHAS, 865-523-2920; e-mail to ridetoremember2023@gmail.com or visit OUR PLACE online at www.ourplace.org or SCHAS at www.schas .org