As a flock of white doves ascended into the air, riders started off on the Hospice of Laurens County Flight of the Dove bike ride.
The Saturday morning ride took those participating on several journeys of 30 miles, 50 miles and a long 62 mile ride.
All three rides took the participants into Newberry County, with the longer two coming down Bush River Road to Brown Chapel Road in Helena and up Belfast Road to Highway 560.
While the 50 mile ride took riders back to Clinton the longest ride ventured to Cross Hill and Mountville.
Over 300 riders were in the pack that left Presbyterian College Saturday at 8 a.m.
Some of those riders included wounded warriors, which others were those affected by hospice and some were even Newberry County residents.
Scott Cain, from Newberry County, said he has ridden in a number of bike rallies and while he has not ridden in a while, this one was for a good cause.
Some that did not ride did got into the swing of things and lent a helping hand.
Both Bush River Baptist and Smyrna Presbyterian churches were stops on the route with members pitching in to hand out snacks, fruit, drink and sandwiches.
The two county churches were also stops for bathroom breaks.
Bush River Baptist Pastor Brian Preston said it is his church’s duty to care for the everyone in the community and he felt this ride was part of the community.
Smyrna Pastor Scott Hill says the money raised helps support Hospice of Laurens County and that his congregation has had several members that were recently benefited by hospice.
“And we want to give back,” said Hill.
This year’s ride will included cyclists from Ride 2 Recovery Southeast. The Ride 2 Recovery is produced by the Fitness Challenge Foundation, in partnership with the military and VA Volunteer Service Office, to benefit Mental and Physical Rehabilitation Programs for our country’s wounded veterans that feature cycling as the core activity.
Sergio del Valio, is a wounded warrior at Fort Gordon, and was on a modified tricycle and he said he was riding as a part of his therapy.
This marks the seventh year for the Flight of the Dove.
The bicycle ride and the proceeds raised benefit Hospice of Laurens County.
The ride has grown each year since 2006 and it is the largest fundraiser for Hospice of Laurens County.
In 2011, over 300 cyclist from all over the Southeast came to support this wonderful cause.
Many of the cyclist ride in memory of or in honor of a loved one. That makes the ride very special and the proceeds raised go directly to patient care.
Hospice of Laurens County was the first hospice to open in Laurens County and has continued to serve the community. In May of 2012, Hospice of Laurens County celebrated their 25th year of serving Laurens County.
In 2008 the Hospice House opened and became the first of its kind for Laurens County. The 12-bed facility offers a home-like atmosphere to care for patients and their families when home care is not feasible. Hospice is available for any individual that has been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and is no longer seeking curative treatment.
This can include cancer as well as a non-cancer diagnosis. The top five non-cancer diagnosis are: end-stage heart disease, dementia, failure to thrive, lung disease and end-stage kidney disease.