Bikers hold fundraiser to help historic church destroyed by lightning strike and thank firefighters

Biker Dad

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been just over a month since a lightning strike caused a historic 154-year-old church to burn down on Long Ridge Road in Chesapeake. 

Now, some groups of bikers in the area are coming together to hold a fundraiser Saturday to benefit the church and say “thank you” to some of the area firefighters.

Gabriel Chapel A.M.E Zion Church was struck by lightning Aug. 28. It took nearly three hours to bring the fire under control, and left the church completely destroyed. 

The church was built 154 years ago and is the site of the first developed community for freed slaves in the state of Virginia. The congregation consists of about 100 people, several of whom are in their 90s.

The ride — “Riding for Heritage” — will start at 11:30 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. Saturday. Registration is from 10-11 a.m. at Bayside Harley Davidson, 2211 Frederick Boulevard in Portsmouth, and costs $20 per motorcycle or car, according to the Facebook event. A rider meeting will be held at 11:15 a.m.

Car clubs are welcome to join the ride. 

The ride will go from Bayside Harley Davidson to St. Grace Holiness Church Of Deliverance, 2116 Cuffee Road in Chesapeake.

Proceeds from the fundraiser ride will help Gabriel Chapel A.M.E Zion Church and well as Saint Grace Holiness Church of Deliverance.

The event is organized by 7 City’s Biker Events, Bikez-N-Soundz retail company, Biker Bum apparel, and clubs Kings Of The South Chesapeake and Buffalo Soldiers Hampton Roads.

Event organizers will also give community service awards at 3:30 p.m. to the firefighters from various departments including the Moyock Volunteer Fire Department and Chesapeake fire stations
1,2,3,4,5,6,7,13,14 and 15.

There will also be food trucks, vendors and various trophies given out. Trophies include oldest riders, youngest riders, club that rode the furthest, best rep bike club and more.

During the event, organizers would also like attendees to walk down to the Cuffeytown Historic Cemetery where the “Cuffeytown 13” — Black Civil War veterans who fought for the Union and who are often referred to as the Buffalo Soldiers — are buried.

The vendor list at the event includes:

  • Tim Minor State Farm
  • Slingshot Adventures
  • Biker Bum
  • T-Shirts by Cindi-leigh
  • Wood Customs
  • Fresh Look Enterprise
  • Paparazzi
  • Quotucated
  • Lotions&Potions and Thirty-one bags
  • Mary Kay
  • Bethany Biggs, balloon artist
  • World Class Solutions
  • Amsoil

Click here for details on the event.


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