Ride 2 Provide raising funds for 6-year-old fire survivor after 3 family members die


MARKLE, Ind. (WANE) — The Markle motorcycle community is coming together to help a child who has been hospitalized for eight months following a fire that killed three-member of his family.

Ride 2 Provide is a nonprofit organization with a goal to help families with ongoing medical expenses. For 16 years the group has raised funds by hold an annual Ride 2 Provide Day complete with a motorcycle ride, raffle drawing, silent auction, benefit dinner, bingo, and more.

“Third Saturday in August we ride,” said Ride 2 Provide organizer Lesa Asher. “We want to help in any way we can and this is our way to help.”

This year the organization is helping raise money for 6-year-old Owen Deford, who was rescued from a house fire in Fort Wayne in September 2020. Owen’s mother, Janice Ann Williams, 2-year-old Hazel Oliva Deford, and 11-month-old Lily Eloise Deford were pulled from the home and died at the hospital. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Owen (left and right) and the Deford family. (Courtesy of Ride 2 Provide)

Owen was in ICU on ventilators and had several surgeries to help him recover from his injuries. He is currently in Cincinnati hospital with a tracheotomy and is starting to have movement in his right arm but is unable to walk or stand. The hope is that Owen will move back to Markle to be with his dad, Eric, and his grandparents Lloyd and Brenda Williams. Dr. Lloyd Williams is Markle’s physician.

“Markle is a community and we are family,” said Ride 2 Provide organizer Angenette Reed. “Every penny goes to the [Deford] family and everything is free will donation except for the bikers.”

Over the years the ride has grown. Both Asher and Reed say it’s all thanks to the community for its support.

The event is open to the public and will be held at Markle Park Fish and Game Club Park.

The all-day event will begin Aug. 21 at 8 a.m. with the biscuits and gravy breakfast.

For those wanting to participate in the ride, the cost to ride is $15 dollars and $10 dollars for the passenger. All other activities are free-will donations.

To learn how to volunteer or donate information can be found by contacting Lesa Asher at 260-438-8635 or by visiting the Ride 2 Provide Facebook page.

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