MERIDIAN | A charitable motorcycle rally Sunday particularly resonated with participant Kelley DeRycke.
The Wayne County woman was among riders and passengers who saddled up for the bike run benefiting Vera House, a nonprofit agency aimed at providing support for victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse.
DeRycke fell under the latter category at some point in her life, and seeing more than 50 motorcycles gathered for the Sunday rally was "wonderful," she said.
Sunday's bike run was organized by the Cayuga County and Wayne County chapters of the Punishers Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. The biking contingent was also composed of riders from other local clubs and unaffiliated community supporters.
"We can come to club members about anything and say, 'Hey, can we do this?' And they give the go-ahead," said DeRycke, a club supporter. "The Punishers love to support anything."
Starting at the Express Mart on Route 370 in Meridian, bikers set out for Dewey's in Seneca Falls before heading back east to Winds of Cold Springs Harbor Marina in Baldwinsville.
The local Punishers have received considerable community support in their Vera House campaign, said Tom Ralph, president of the Cayuga County chapter. In addition to registration fees, proceeds from a 50-50 raffle and sales of T-shirts, the latter of which were donated by several local community groups, will go to Vera House.
Additionally, Denise's Diner in Cato will donate $2 to Vera House for every $10 spent by Punishers family, friends and supporters through the month of July.
Citing Punishers family and friends — like DeRycke— that have utilized the Vera House's services, Ralph said the decision to donate to the nonprofit agency "just seemed like the right thing to do."
Next year, the local Punishers clubs are looking to host a ride in support of children or military services, Ralph said. "We're going to bounce it around and spread the wealth."
And as the Vera House is a nonprofit agency, club supporters hope the community can continue rallying behind its "crucial" mission, said Cato woman and club supporter Cindylou Lawson.
"I think it's so, so important that (victims) know they have somewhere to go," Lawson said. "Vera House does so much for so many people."
Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.