Oct. 4—LENOIR — In September 2016, tragedy struck a local family. Now they want to raise awareness in the community so that no other family suffers the same loss as them.
Austin Roberts, 19, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Thursday, September 8, 2016. He graduated from West Caldwell High School in 2015 and worked at MDI. Austin had recently enlisted in the United States Marines and was scheduled to begin his career the following January.
On Sunday, October 9, the Ride for Austin Motorcycle Benefit will be held at the LifeCenter Church, located at 1925 Valway Road in Lenoir.
Carol Dula, Austin’s mother, is a member of LifeCenter Church and works for UNC Health Blue Ridge. Along with her husband and other LifeCenter volunteers, she established Ride for Austin as a Memorial Scholarship to raise money for the Austin Roberts Memorial Scholarship through the County of Austin Education Foundation. Caldwell.
“We give out scholarships every year to West Caldwell students because that’s where he graduated from,” Dula said.
Last year, the Austin Roberts Memorial Scholarship raised $12,000 for three students.
Ride for Austin also aims to promote motorcycle safety and awareness in the community.
“We lost a loved one to negligence in motorcycle awareness and safety,” Dula said. “We want to promote that safety and awareness. Look twice and be careful. If you’re pulling equipment, especially in the dark, make sure you have lights and reflectors and people can see you. .”
Many remember Austin as a charismatic young man.
“Austin was a very stupid kid,” Dula said. “When he was killed he had recently signed his contract with the US Marines. He intended to be in the military for our country. -plot all his life. anyone who met him or knew him knew he was always smiling. You don’t know how many teachers have told me that even though he was in trouble, he was always smiling .
“It’s been six tough years,” Dula continued. “We try to make the most of it.”
Registration for the motorcycle ride will begin at 11:30 a.m. Riders will depart Church LifeCenter at 1:30 p.m. and travel to Taylorsville, Wilkesboro and Statesville before returning to LifeCenter.
Riders can sign up for the motorcycle ride, which includes lunch, for $25 per person. T-shirts and raffle tickets will be sold at the event, along with signs reading “Look twice, save a life”. There will be a silent auction for several pieces of furniture that have been donated for this cause. All proceeds will go to the scholarship fund.
Local restaurants such as Captain’s Galley, Perkz Cafe and Chubby’s of Baton have donated the food that will be served. Non-riders can purchase plates for $10 each.
“It helps a lot when people donate,” Dula said. “Especially the food.”
For those unable to attend Sunday’s event but wish to support the Austin Roberts Memorial Scholarship, please consider donating via CashApp to $Ride4Austin.
Follow the Ride for Austin Facebook page for more details.