4th Annual R.E.D. Ride to Remember Everyone Deployed Kicks Off in Jacksonville This Month

By Jeremy Coumbes on August 2, 2023 at 3:01pm

An annual event aimed at supporting deployed members of the military will again be roaring its way through the area soon.

The 4th Annual R.E.D. Ride of Central Illinois is happening this year on Saturday, August 26th. R.E.D. stands for Remember Everyone Deployed and was started by a local group of friends who had a mutual friend on his fifth overseas deployment at the time.

The group decided to start sending care packages to deployed members of the military and later began working with the Franklin Waverly Military Support Group which sends monthly care packages to deployed soldiers.

One of the founders of the R.E.D. Ride, Gordon Gibbs says they created the ride to help support the Franklin Waverly Military Support Group, which was seeing the level of donations falling and having a hard time keeping up.

Gibbs says the ride, which is now in its fourth year, has nearly doubled in size each year. “The first year for the ride was in August of 2020. We had 89 bikes, 42 Jeeps, roughly 400 people and raised $12,000.00 Last year we had 227 bikes, 160 Jeeps, roughly 40 just random vehicles and raised just shy of $56,000.00.”

The groups have since then joined forces with the Springfield Cares Group to help keep the funding coming in so both can keep sending packages out.

Gibbs says the care packages consist of anything non-perishable from toiletries and cosmetics, to different types of snacks. He says the packages not only provide needed items to deployed troops, but they also try to make sure they each have touches of home as well.

It does and they speak really highly of that. If you go on the Facebook pages of these two groups you’ll see some testimonials from soldiers who have received packages, you know, thank you letters they’ve sent back. It makes it all worth it to see how welcome that stuff is when they receive it.”

The 2023 R.E.D. Ride of Central Illinois starts with registration at 9:00 am at Bogart’s Banquet Hall in Jacksonville at 9:00 am and then a short ceremony before they hit the road at 10:00 am.

The ride goes to the Hill Prairie Winery, the Sherman Athletic Club, the Lake Springfield Elks Club, and then the Auburn Slaughter House, before heading up to Springfield to take in a band at the Curve Inn.

Gibbs says there is food along the way starting with biscuits and gravy and donuts at Bogarts, a hamburger and hot dog lunch, and then pulled pork dinner. Any kind of vehicle can join in on the ride and there are raffles along the way and an auction featuring some unique items at the end with all the proceeds going to the groups to keep the care packages going out.

You can pre-register on either the R.E.D. Ride or Springfield Cares Facebook pages. The cost is $15.00 per driver before and $20.00 the day of and each passenger is just $5.00.

Gibbs says they are always welcoming donations and business sponsorships to help support the ride. He says the groups are also always in need of names and mailing information of troops who are deployed and would want a care package.

To submit a name or to support the endeavors, go to the R.E.D. Ride or Springfield Cares Facebook pages for more information.