Dean Greene was overcome with emotion as he and the other motorcyclists rode in Interstate 40 towards the western North Carolina mountains. The bikers, participating in the Ride to Clyde charity ride in 2017, had left Mills Home in Thomasville only minutes before. The experience with the boys and girls was fresh on Greene’s mind.
“We’re riding up the road, and I’m thinking about the stories of these kids,” explains Greene, a firefighter and member of Brookstone Church in Weaverville. “On my motorcycle there’s a piece of chrome. [I saw] a perfect little handprint [smudged] on that chrome. I immediately started crying.”
The annual ride, organized by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) to benefit Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), was eye opening for Greene –– as it can be for many first-time participants. Ride to Clyde bikers visit with children at three different BCH locations as they travel from the east coast to Broyhill Home in Clyde during the four-day event.
“There’s always a couple of kids that kind of hang around you. There was one little kid who never left my side the whole time,” Greene shares about his first visit to Mills Home during the 2017 ride.
Greene sat with the boy on the seat of his parked Harley-Davidson. The boy began talking. The big man sat listening to every detail of the little boy’s heartbreaking tale.
“He told me a story of how his mom and dad didn’t care for him,” explains Greene as his voice fades. “They loved drugs. They loved other stuff more than they loved their son.”
Greene completed his first Ride to Clyde event the following day, but the boy’s story and the memory of spotting that perfect little handprint on his motorcycle, moved the firefighter from Weaverville deeply.
“About two months later, I wake up from a dream where my bike is painted with handprints –– all over,” reveals Green.
Greene was inspired. He would turn his dream into a reality. With BCH in agreement, Greene took the ministry’s handprints logo and painted it on his motorcycle with the handprints of his own children.
“It’s a conversation starter,” confesses Greene. “Not only do I get to tell people about BCH, but it opens doors for me to share the gospel –– and that’s what we’re here for.”
Telling others about Christ is the reason Greene is passionate about Ride to Clyde. “One of the things that took me by surprise, was when I learned 80% come to the Children’s Homes unchurched –– people who are lost.”
Each annual ride, bikers are challenged to raise funds BCH needs to care for children and families at their statewide locations as well as their affiliate orphanage in Guatemala. Greene raised more than $1,500 for this year’s ride which was slated for May 6-9. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s ride has been postponed, but the funds already raised by Greene and other participants will still go to meet the needs at BCH.
“My parents loved me enough to bring me to church, provide for me, and give me a better life than I really probably deserved,” explains Greene. “These kids don’t have that. But, what they do have is about 110 motorcyclists who will raise some money to help provide them hope –– and hopefully change their lives.”
The 2020 Ride to Clyde has been postponed. Keep up with new updates about the event at at www.bchfamily.org
By Blake Ragsdale, BCH Director of Communications