By Chris Yow
PINSON — A community mourned when Cody “Big Country” Cole died in April of 2016. The 19-year-old Pinson native was dearly beloved in his community, and now the community is reaching out to give back.
A charity bike ride has been organized for Feb. 11, with all proceeds going to Cole’s family. According to the event’s Facebook page, Cody’s parents have recently suffered through some emotional and financial burdens, and this event is hoping to lift some of those burdens from them.
“Big Country was loved by so very many people in this area, and his loss touched thousands and thousands of hearts last year. The pain his family has endured with the senseless loss is more that any parent should have to endure,” the Facebook page reads.
Veteran bike ride promoter Larry Hardeman has gotten involved with this event, and he believes this ride has really been a long time coming. Hardeman said he typically sets up around 10 bike rides per year to benefit childhood cancer, and he is sometimes contacted through those events to host others.
“I didn’t know it was Big Country when they first contacted me, but when I found out it was for him I was excited to get involved. I didn’t even know the kid, but he touched a lot of people in the community,” Hardeman said. “Last year, a lot of people wanted to do a bike ride. There were issues with it. This bike ride is long overdue in that boy’s name.”
The ride is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 11 at 9 a.m. It will begin at Pinson Valley High School and travel to About Bikes in Blount Springs. From there, bikes will travel to the American Legion Post 170 in Steele. Cost for the ride is $20 with passengers only an additional $5. T-shirts will be on sale at $15 per shirt (XXL or larger additional cost). More information is available on the ride’s Facebook page Cody “Big Country” Cole Memorial Ride. Donations from businesses are welcomed for door prizes or to be auctioned. All proceeds will be donated to the Cole family.
The tragic wreck stunned the Pinson community when the vehicle Cole was riding in collided head-on with another.
The Pinson community rallied support for the popular 2015 graduate of Pinson Valley High School. That support and the prayers that accompanied it spread throughout northern Jefferson County, into neighboring counties and across Alabama as the story was picked up by statewide media.
“We want to raise this money for the family,” Hardeman said. “If this effort doesn’t do enough financially, at least it might raise awareness, and even in the future people will try to help whatever way they can.”
For those who will not ride, a donation account has been set up at Regions Bank and a PayPal account will be set up to accept donations through the Facebook page.