Murrells Inlet church helps Spring Harley Rally attendees stay safe on and off the road
Murrells Inlet, S.C. (WPDE) —
Throughout the Spring Harley Rally, volunteers from South Strand Assembly of God have been helping bikers. They're doing it by giving them a place to park their bikes during the rally, and making sure that everyone is sober when they hop back on.
Volunteers with the church said they've been helping the biker community for years.
"I've volunteered here for three years and I love doing it. You meet so many nice people," said Roger Carroll.
Carroll is one of the many volunteers who helps visitors park in the church's lot. The church charges $2 per bike or $5 per car.
"All the money that we raise goes into our missions fund," said John Hayes, a volunteer and youth pastor at the church.
Hayes said the missions fund helps make mission projects possible, like Camp Smile. Camp Smile is a summer camp for children who are mentally disabled.
"We have a lady at our church who decided to start a three-month school for them to help them go over those three months when they're not in school," said Hayes.
Hayes said this program is very successful and they want to help fund it so these children can continue to get help.
"We have a couple people in the church who have some heavy medical bills, so we're trying to help them too," said Marion Midzinski, a volunteer.
While some of the money stays in South Carolina, some goes nationwide and across the globe.
"We're starting a bible school -- the Assembly of Gods in Vietnam," said Miszinski.
Last year, the church raised $20,000 during the Spring Harley Rally.
"We sent off two missions teams. One into Costa Rica last year where we ran a vacation bible school for very underprivileged children," said Hayes. "We sent a team over to Atlanta, Georgia, last year where we did vacation bible schools for them as well. So, every dollar that we raise here, minus the actual cost of the event, goes into missions. We don't keep any of it."
For all of these volunteers, it's about more than just raising money though.
"We don't let anybody go back out there that's had too much to drink and might get hurt," said Midzinski.
"I want to make sure people get home safe," said Hayes. "That, for me, is more rewarding than anything else."
The cars can stay parked outside, but the volunteers make sure all the bikes are safe inside.
"We'll call them a cab and put their motorcycle in our church building until they're able to come back and get it. We give them a card with the address because that's important," said Hayes.
All of the volunteers agreed that they volunteer their time for one reason--to help others.
"We care about people," said Midzinski.
"That's why we're here...to help people," said Carroll.