After 20 years of organizing the annual Jennifer Short Memorial Scholarship Ride, Ray Reynolds is stepping down due to health concerns.
The ride gets underway on Saturday, August 13, at CrossPoint Church, located at 3951 Greensboro Road, Ridgeway.
Registration is $10 per person and begins at the church at 11 a.m. A meal will be held at noon, sponsored by Bojangles and the church, followed by guest speakers that include Henry County Schools Superintendent Sandy Strayer, Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry, Martinsville Sheriff Steve Draper and Rockingham County, N.C. Sheriff Sam Page.
Donations are also accepted. All proceeds benefit the Jennifer Short Memorial Scholarship.
The ride is open to motorcycles and vehicles of all types.
“We welcome everybody. It’s open to everybody. We encourage everybody to be a part of it,” Reynolds said.
Participants are scheduled to leave the church at 1 p.m., and proceed to the Jennifer Renee Short Memorial Bridge in Rockingham County, N.C., Reynolds said.
The ride will follow the typical 35-mile route, with participants leaving from the church and heading down U.S. 220 South to the Virginia/North Carolina state line. After taking Exit 135, the entourage will turn right at the light, left at Dan Valley Road, left on River Road, and finally left on Grogan Road to reach the bridge for prayer, Reynolds said.
Michael and Mary Short were found dead in their Henry County home on August 15, 2002. They each died from a single gunshot wound. Their daughter, Jennifer Renee Short, 9, was missing from the home, and presumed abducted by her parents’ killer or killers.
A massive search effort began, spanning several localities. Her remains were recovered 6-weeks later in Rockingham County, N.C., near the bridge now named in her honor.
The murders are still unsolved, though the case was reopened in 2021.
Like many in the community, Reynolds has not given up hope that justice will be served. He said events like the ride help to bring attention to the tragedy.
Reynolds, a neighbor of the Short family, has organized the ride for two-decades. This year, however, is the final year that his health will allow him to do so.
“If anyone else wants to take it over, I’ll do anything I can to help them,” Reynolds said of the ride that has raised more than $40,000 in scholarships since it began as a way to honor Jennifer Short and her parents, and raise funds to provide scholarships in Jennifer Short’s memory to Bassett High School students.
Although he organizes the event, Reynolds attributes its success to the support he receives each year from individuals and businesses in the community. This year, that list includes the Bassett Kiwanis Club, Bojangles, Cool Knobs and Pulls, State Farm, Bryant Radio, Razor’s Edge Photography, Queen’s Landing, CrossPoint Church and others.
In the event of rain, the ride will be held on Saturday, August 20.