Erin Smith Staff writer
October 20, 2013
WHITE LAKE — The seventh annual Mike Merritt Memorial Ride will take off from White Lake Fire Department on Saturday, Oct. 26, at 12:45 p.m.
Registration will be held at the firehouse from 9 a.m. until 10:45 a.m. with lunch and door prizes being awarded from 11 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. Cost is $20 per single rider or $25 for double (includes meal).
The ride will travel from the firehouse to the USS North Carolina Battleship. Cars are welcome to follow the bikes. The cost to tour the battleship is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Evelyn Merritt, one of the ride’s organizers, said proceeds from this year’s ride will go to the Bladen County Firefighters Association to help with the construction of a training facility. There are currently 15 fire departments in Bladen County, and Merritt said the need for a training facility is great. She said some of the new state requirements no longer allow fire departments to burn buildings for training purposes.
“Dale Brennan told me about it. It’s a concern. We need this,” said Merritt of the training building. “Having this new building will help them to get the training they need.”
The ride is organized in honor of Merritt’s son, Mike, who passed away unexpectedly.
“When he passed away, he was captain at the fire department and first responder,” said Merritt.
Merritt thanked everyone for being so supportive and for their assistance with the Mike Merritt Scholarship.
“We’re OK with the scholarship program with the funds. We saw a need outside of that to help the firemen in getting a building,” said Merritt. “We hope the other fire departments will join in. A lot of fire departments are contributing to it already.”
She added that T-shirts for this year’s ride will be red in color to support the firefighters and the cost is $12 each. If you are interested in purchasing a shirt, contact Merritt at 872-1304. All checks should be made payable to the Bladen County Firefighters Association.
“I enjoy helping people in memory of (my son),” said Merritt of the ride.