Freedom Ride brings riders to Liberty to raise money for an education foundation

Riders set off on the Freedom Ride through the streets of Liberty and north to Hardin and Moss Hill.

More than a hundred cyclists braved the rainy and cold weather on Saturday to ride the seventh annual Freedom Ride, sponsored by the Liberty ISD Education Foundation. Most of the riders were from the greater Houston area, including some riders from Australia and England.

The bike ride and other Liberty ISD Education Foundation events raise money for classroom grants for Liberty ISD teachers.

Saturday’s weather deterred some riders from attending, but there will still be a good turnout among hard-core cyclists who didn’t mind a bit of rain. Organizers had hopefully prepared 300 cyclists, although only 118 rode and 140 pre-registered.

Freedom Ride volunteers worked Saturday morning to organize a good event for the hundred or so cyclists who came. Pictured, left to right, Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett, Logan Pickett, Richard Vinson and Bruce Wright.

“We’ve had so many setbacks over the last few years because of the weather. Last year, only 75 people showed up because it was very cold,” said LISD Education Foundation spokesperson Bruce Wright.

With the journey now behind them, organizers are now working on plans to relaunch their annual gala, which has been suspended for the past five years in part due to COVID.

“It’s been a while since we had a gala,” Wright said. “We are now planning a foundation gala this year for April 23 at the Liberty Center (inside Liberty City Hall).”

The gala will feature performances by the Royal Dukes Band, who will perform with an 11-piece brass section and backing vocals.

“The group is perfect for people who want to dance. This year, the gala will pay tribute to Janie Ripkowski, who is 94 years old. Our slogan is “Still Dancing With Janie Rip”. She was the dance godmother for many years in high school and she taught special education. She is one of those special people who is always there and ready to help,” Wright said. “Everyone loves him.”

The gala dinner will be provided by the Tuscan Italian Restaurant in Dayton. The ticket price of $75 per person will cover admission, meal, wine and beer. Only 200 tickets will be sold, so those wishing to attend are encouraged to make those arrangements as soon as possible.

Table sponsors and silent auction donors are also needed.

Money raised from both the bike ride and the gala will be added to the Education Foundation’s growing endowment account, which hit the $1 million milestone in 2020. Wright said the goal of the Educational Foundation is able to provide grants from money raised through paid investment accounts.

“Our investment account has really paid off for the Education Foundation over the past two years with COVID when we weren’t able to hold many fundraising events. Our investments have worn us down” , did he declare.

For more information about the Education Foundation, go online to Tickets for the gala can be purchased through the website or by calling or texting Wright at 936-641-0367.

Freedom Ride riders began their ride in downtown Liberty on Saturday before venturing north.

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