Though Philip Mappa is no longer around in body, his spirit lives on in the form of an annual event that raises funds for various causes he supported.
The Philip Mappa Memorial Ride, which began in 2012, will be held again Saturday — with participants to gather in Mount Airy for a 95-mile trek covering scenic locations in Stokes and Surry counties. Registration starts at 10:15 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, with everyone invited to participate.
“While motorcycles will be the primary means of transportation, participants in cars and trucks will also be welcome — whatever has wheels,” explained Judy Mappa of Mount Airy, wife of Philip Mappa, who died in 2011 of lung cancer at age 60.
Various chapters of the Enforcers and Chariots of Fire clubs will be participating, along with individual bikers. As many as 90 motorcycles are expected Saturday.
Philip Mappa was dedicated to public service, which included being a leader of Boy Scout Troop 553 and Cub Pack 553 for 15 years and spending many summers working at Boy Scout Camp Raven Knob. An electrician by trade, Mappa also was a volunteer for the Habitat for Humanity organization who assisted in the building of 25 houses.
After his death, Mappa’s family launched the annual ride to keep his memory alive and raise funds for community causes “that were close to his heart,” Judy Mappa added.
This year, the beneficiaries of the ride will be two people who are battling cancer, Stacy Young Gunter and “Fish” McCraw.
Michael Willard, a son-in-law of Mappa and one of the organizers of the event, said it usually generates $900 to $1,200 for the need identified. In 2015, $800 in proceeds went to Mountain Valley Hospice.
“Last year, I think we had about 50 bikes,” Willard said.
The costs for Saturday’s ride are $10 for a single and $15 for doubles. Monetary donations also will be accepted, including from persons who do not wish to ride.
Registration is scheduled from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m.
“We’ll leave Veterans Park at 11:30,” Willard said.
Participants will travel along N.C. 103 toward Stuart, Virginia, but make a turn to Danbury and from that destination proceed along different roads through the countryside, including the back side of Pilot Mountain, for the return trip to Mount Airy. Willard said N.C. 89 has purposely been eliminated from the ride due to its sharp curves that can be hazardous for bikers.
“It’s a scenic route and a safer ride,” Willard said.
Scenic Ford has donated two vehicles for the event, a car and a truck, which will trail the participants and be available to help in case anyone breaks down.
Boy Scout Troop 553 of White Plains will be helping with food at the park.
While the ride’s namesake will not be able to witness the latest outpouring for charity honoring him, “his family would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone for coming out to support this ride,” Judy Mappa remarked.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.