Van Moore from Columbus drives Dean Threet on the back of his blue motorcycle at the Arrington at Plantation Pointe Sunday. Threet, 88, was one of about 15 residents at the assisted living facility to enjoy the rides from the One-Way Riders ministry. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
September 18, 2017 11:01:12 AM
As Dean Threet rode around the Arrington at Plantation Pointe assisted living facility in Columbus Sunday on a bright blue motorcycle, she threw her hands up in delight.
After climbing off the motorcycle, Threet, 88, quickly pulled a purple comb out of her bag to fix her "wind-blown" hair.
"I even came prepared," she said, laughing.
Threet, along with about 15 other Arrington residents, rode as passengers on either the back of a motorcycle or in a Chevrolet Stingray -- a car more the residents referred to as the "batmobile."
The One-Way Riders, the Columbus chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association, brought their rides to the Arrington as part of its service ministry.
All things considered, Sunday's rides made for quite the exhilarating church experience.
Many of the Arrington residents don't have opportunities to attend church services, said One-Way Riders member Sherry Feagens, so the event gave them exposure to Christian ministry and a welcome change of pace from their daily routines.
"This was our first time here, and we really just wanted to give the residents something new and exciting to do," Feagens said. "But I don't know who has had more fun today, us or them."
Taking a ride
Sunday was far from Threet's first time on a motorcycle, but she admitted she wasn't quite as daring -- even in her youth -- as her son, Davis Harper, who was a competitive dirt bike racer.
"I would never go watch him race because I was too scared he would get hurt," she said.
Still, she didn't hesitate to jump on the bike Sunday with One-Way Riders chapter president Van Moore. And as she rode around the lake at the Arrington, she felt no regrets.
"I think the best part, for me, was being on a motorcycle again and just being outside, because everything is simply so beautiful," Threet said. "I so enjoyed it. It was just fun, and something different for us who are shut in the majority of the time."
Another resident, 78-year-old John Kimbrell, said events like this give him a better chance to socialize -- one of his favorite things to do.
Although his wife passed away 38 years ago, Kimbrell said meeting new people, even from the assisted living home, helps him maintain a positive attitude.
"I love being around everyone and being able to talk to people," Kimbrell said Sunday between rides. "It's been just me and the Lord for a long time, so I can't wait to ride again. I'll be the first in line to ride and to meet new people."
He was last in line, too.
After two hours of enjoying the sunny afternoon from the back of a motorcycle, the residents at the Arrington sat contently on the porch in their lawn chairs.
"Any one else want to take a ride before we go?" Moore asked before the One-Way Riders left. "Last call."
In response, Kimbrell threw up a quick hand, followed by a head-nod and was sent on his way around the lake, the engine revving as they rounded the corner out of the front entrance of the Arrington one last time.
For the One-Way Riders, fall is the "season of giving," Moore said.
The Christian Motorcyclists Association, which was founded in 1975, has since grown to be an international association, with chapters in 38 countries.
One-Way Riders participates in annual events hosted by CMA national, as well as hosting local events in their region or city. One such event, a 100-mile "Run for the Son" bike ride held annually, raises travel expenses for pastors, evangelists and other Christian workers around the world.
Throughout the year, club members also attend secular bike rallies, ministering to other bikers in hopes to lead them to a life with Christ.
That, Moore admitted, can sometimes prove challenging.
"You really have a lot to stay 'prayed up' on during the rallies and other events, because there are a lot of shenanigans going on," Moore said. "But at the end of the day, it blesses our hearts to do this for people. We don't get paid, but instead our reward is leading people to the Lord. That's what it's all about."
One-Way Riders hosts an annual ride at Trinity Baptist Church in West Point. They will also visit the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus during the second weekend of December, giving residents there an opportunity to ride on a motorcycle.
However, Moore said for the Palmer Home ride, they will need plenty of "cagers," which are those riding in cars, to assist them by carrying loads of stuffed animals and toys that cannot fit on the back of a bike.
"We always love having cagers come too," Moore said. "We are just a Christian group that likes motorcycles. So, you don't need one to be a member."
1. 30-plus employers to recruit at job fair COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Supervisor responds to public criticism by taking polygraph STARKVILLE & OKTIBBEHA COUNTY
3. Would-be CPD officer popped for DUI, other charges COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Columbus woman charged with embezzlement for allegedly stealing from cash register COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY