Gov. Robert Bentley was on hand for the event and applauded former Heisman Trophy winner and two-sport professional athlete Bo Jackson for his efforts to help the state rebuild after the deadly April 27, 2011 tornadoes.
“It’s apparent that Bo loves the people of this state, and I share his enthusiasm,” Bentley said. “I’m thrilled he’s back this year to once again raise money to help his fellow Alabamians and I can’t thank him enough for that.”
The inaugural Bo Bikes Bama raised more than $600,000 for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), which was established by Bentley immediately following the tornadoes. The fund helps Alabama citizens who have exhausted all other avenues of disaster relief provided by insurance, government funding and relief organizations. Bentley said Friday money raised through the first Bo Bikes event made it possible for the state to not only rebuild, but build back safer to prevent loss of life during future severe weather outbreaks.
“The Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund has been used to build community storm shelters in at least six counties,” Bentley said. “Each of these shelters can hold up to 300 people. These communities could not have received funding to pay for these life-saving shelters had it not been for Bo Jackson and the money he helped raise last year.”
Bo Bikes Bama 2 continued Friday night with a silent auction event at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The actual bike ride will start today at 8 a.m. in Cordova. There will be a 60-mile and a 20-mile ride, both ending at Cordova High School. Like the inaugural ride, Jackson will be joined by several notable friends, including Ken Griffey Jr., Picabo Street, Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, Indy driver Justin Wilson and actor Andre Holland who stars in NBC’s “1600 Penn” and the Jackie Robinson film “42.”
“Bo Bikes Bama is all about coming together to help our neighbors,” Jackson said. “It’s about celebrating the people of Alabama the Beautiful and making sure we keep them safe. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the riders who joined me last year and also making some new friends while supporting a very worthy cause again this year.”
Along with receiving praise from the governor, Jackson was also commended by Sen. Greg Reed (R-Jasper) on Friday. Jackson was presented with an Alabama State Senate resolution for his dedicated service to the state. The resolution stated in addition to the contributions Jackson has made to assist in recovery efforts, he has also “instilled in adults and children alike a generous spirit of volunteerism and service and an invaluable gift and legacy which will provide a positive and lasting influence on this state.”
“As we remember the storms of April 27, there many of us across District 5 and the State of Alabama that are recognizing how difficult those days were by how far we have come to be where we are today,” Reed said. “With what Bo has done and is continuing to do to raise money for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund and to have Bo Bikes started in Cordova, my hometown, where the devastation was severe, we wanted to have some way to say thank you. As Gov. Bentley and others have said thank you, we wanted specifically to let him know that the leaders in Walker County appreciate what he's doing for our area and other places that the ride will flow through.”