Area motorcyclists gathered Saturday for a “Riding for Morgan” charity run to help raise funds for a seriously ill Hinesville native, Morgan Smith Rogers. Despite overcast skies and blustery conditions, the ride brought around 50 riders and raised $1,000 to assist Rogers’s family with mounting medical costs.
Rogers, 29, has been hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Candler since Jan. 3 with a serious bacterial infection and has undergone 15 different surgeries to date. She recently was moved from the intensive care unit to the progressive care unit, where she is beginning to recover; however, relatives say Rogers’s road to recovery is long.
“Her doctors say that she will have a very extended recovery, with more surgeries to come before, she is fully healed. ... We have no idea how long she will be in the hospital,” said Rogers’ father-in-law, Mike Allen.
Allen and his wife, Tammy, attended and rode in the event to thank those who came out in support of their daughter-in-law. He said that Rogers has her good days and her bad days, and it has been a difficult time for the entire family.
Allen and other family members contacted Sistaz and Soljaz with Vizonz, a local social club known for its involvement in community service, to help coordinate a charity event for Rogers.
“The club holds a ride in conjunction with our annual Presidential Bash and when we were asked for help, we decided to have the proceeds of this ride go toward Morgan’s care. It’s the least we can do to help,” said Lisette “LBoogie” Flores, president and founder of SWV.
Flores said the club held the ride in conjunction with its parent motorcycle club, Deep South Riders, and heavily promoted the event through other motorcycle clubs, social media sites and prayer groups.
According to SWV Vice President Amanda Lawson, the club always is open to opportunities to help the community.
“We try to help out where we can,” she said. She added that the group has been involved in collecting toys for Toys For Tots, working with area nursing homes and raising money for its scholarship program, which gives money to area high-school graduates.
Group members weren’t sure what to expect regarding turnout for the ride since such events typically tend to be influenced by the weather. Lawson said the cold, wind and threat of rain may have kept some riders at home. Still, multiple independent riders and several Fort Stewart and Hinesville-area motorcycle clubs did show, including Chosen Riders, Front Runnerz, Soldiers United, Kingz and other groups. One group, II Tight, came from Brunswick to show its support.
Riders met in the parking lot of the Quality Inn on Highway 17 in Richmond Hill to form a procession. A few co-workers of Greg Rogers, Rogers’ husband, from Interstate Paper and many of Rogers’ relatives and friends gathered at the rally point to see off the riders and thank them for participating.
“The community support has been great. We’re so thankful for everything that people are doing,” said Vicki Smith, Rogers’ sister. She added that Rogers is aware of the ride and other support efforts on her behalf but has not been able to comment due to her condition.
Flores gathered the riders together at noon and expressed her gratitude for the turnout.
“You all touch my heart,” she said before inviting Rogers’ family members to speak on her behalf.
Smith thanked all the participants before becoming overwhelmed with emotion. Allen said it meant a lot to see so many of his fellow brother and sister motorcycle riders come together in support of his daughter-in-law.
“God is good all the time and we thank everyone for their continued prayers,” he said. Attendees joined hands and prayed for Rogers and the safety of the group on the road.
The route brought riders down Highway 17 into Midway, then west on Highway 84 before looping back to Highway 17 via Leroy Coffer Highway.
An account for donations has been established at The Heritage Bank in Hinesville and Altamaha Federal Credit Union locations in Ludowici and Jesup. Anyone who wants to contribute to Rogers’ care should make checks payable to the “Morgan Rogers Fund,” or call Allen at 912-256-1743.