Dozens of motorcycles thundered out of the Lowe’s parking lot Saturday morning, the parade of chrome and steel led by a silver Dodge Charger.
Behind the wheel was Effingham County Sheriff’s Deputy Ivey Williamson and behind him — literally and figuratively — were the fleet of riders taking part in the Ride for Ivey.
“It’s hard to explain how I feel when I see the support of the community like this,” Williamson said.
Williamson, a longtime ECSO deputy, has been diagnosed with a failing kidney. But his prognosis is getting better, he said Saturday. A potential donor has been found, and the donor has one more step to take. He has to undergo a battery of tests at Emory University Hospital before the operation can be considered, Williamson said. If the test results are good, Williamson could be receiving a new kidney in a matter of weeks.
Williamson continues to receive dialysis treatments, which he has had for more than a year. Yet his outlook is upbeat. He hasn’t had to be hospitalized since his diagnosis.
“My overall health is really good,” he said. “It’s been a challenge, as far as staying healthy and not getting sick.”
Christine Davis of Guyton, who kids Julia and Russell were suited up for the ride, was one of the approximately 150 riders who signed up. The event also included a raffle and T-shirt sales. With Russell having been on a ride before, it was Julia’s turn Saturday.
“It’s for a good cause,” Davis said.
Lt. Bobby Durden of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office and president of the Blue Knights 8, presented Williamson a $2,000 check on behalf of the organization.
“I am overwhelmed by the turnout that I have received for this,” Williamson said. “The support from the county has truly been a blessing. Even though Effingham County is growing, we still have a small-town mentality, where we take care of each other.”