Former Major League Baseball player Ken Griffey Jr., Olympic gold medal skier Picabo Street and cyclist Lance Armstrong surveyed the damage with the sports legend before the Bo Bikes Bama fundraising ride left Walker County and headed to Jackson’s hometown of Bessemer.
The bikers started the morning with a stop at Cordova Elementary School, where the children cheered and waved signs reading “Go Bo” at the finish line.
Jackson met with a local family who lost a loved one in the tornadoes prior to addressing the crowd.
Jackson told the students that he and his friends were riding across the state to raise money for storm survivors, and he encouraged them to support the effort if they could.
“When you go home, all of the pocket change that you see in your mom and dad’s car, put it in a little bag and bring it to school because every penny counts. If you give one cent, that’s going to help somebody out and they will appreciate it,” Jackson said.
CES principal Dianne Williams said that some students came to school on Friday bearing envelopes full of cash to donate to the cause.
She added that hosting the Bo Bikes Bama riders was the highlight of what might otherwise have been a gloomy day for the students.
“This turned the day into something more positive and put the focus on moving forward,” Williams said.
Cordova was not on the original list of stops, but after school administrators made a few phone calls, ride organizers agreed to kick off the April 27 leg of Bo Bikes Bama at CES.
“Now the kids are so excited and pumped up. It has really helped to take away the sadness of the day,” Williams said.