Benefit ride scheduled to support Albemarle Fire Department

A benefit ride organized by Chapter 24 of the Red Knights Motorcycle Club will happen  Saturday at the Stanly County Fairgrounds to show support and raise money for the Albemarle Fire Department, which a few months ago had several firefighters contract COVID-19.

“We are here to help our brothers and sisters in the fire department and the fire service,” said Jimmy Snavely, president of the local RKMC chapter, which encompasses Stanly, Anson and Montgomery counties.

The group, which consists of about 25 members, organizes community rides to raise support for first responders and others in the community.

Snavely, himself a firefighter who works at both East Side and Millingport volunteer fire departments, said a few members of the club thought it would be a good idea to organize a ride to support the department.

The Albemarle Fire Department experienced a COVID-19 outbreak in early July when 10 firefighters contracted the virus, with at least two being admitted into the hospital. Several local departments, including Concord and Kannapolis, provided assistance while the department received time off. It was around this time that the highly contagious delta variant began to appear in Stanly.

All of the infected firefighters have recovered and since returned to work, Fire Chief T. Pierre Brewton confirmed with the SNAP Tuesday morning. The department has put in place several precautions to mitigate any future infections, he said, including daily temperature checks for staff and sanitizing the stations and trucks each morning.

Firefighters are also encouraged to follow CDC safety guidelines, including getting vaccinated and not come to work if they are not feeling well.

“We feel as though we’re in a good, strong position to actually combat any type of issue,” Brewton said.

Registration for the benefit ride starts at 9 a.m., with the one-hour ride to follow at 11 a.m. A spaghetti lunch will take place at noon.

As of Tuesday afternoon, close to 90 people have responded on Facebook that they were either interested or planned on taking part in the event.

All vehicles are welcome to participate in the ride. The cost is $20 per bike, $10 for each rider and $8 for additional passengers or for people that just come out for the lunch.

The Red Knights are planning to sponsor 10 families as part of their annual Santa Experience this December, where young kids get to meet Santa and receive Christmas gifts.