Hawg Heaven ride Saturday for Shining Light

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Jason A. Smith


Local bikers are revving up for a cause this weekend, to raise money for the fight against addictions to drugs and alcohol.

The third annual Hawg Heaven Bike Ride will be held Saturday, at 10 a.m. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go toward Shining Light Ministries, according to organizers.

The ride will begin at the Chick-fil-A restaurant, located at 1321 Ga. Highway 20 West in McDonough, and end at the First Baptist Church of Stockbridge, at 4566 North Henry Blvd.

Registration for the motorcycle ride is $25 per person.

Teresa Bestwick, founder and executive director of Shining Light, is a survivor of addictions to drugs and alcohol. She used various narcotics for 25 years, but has been clean for the last 18 years.

Bestwick said her experiences gave her a desire to open the non-profit organization, to help other women who are fighting the same battles she once did.

"Our mission is to open a pathway to recovery and freedom for women whose lives have been ruined by addictions and low self-worth, by teaching them to know the love and power of Jesus Christ," Bestwick said.

Twenty-three women have graduated from Shining Light's 12-step program, since the facility's inception 2 1/2 years ago, including five women thus far this year. Some of those women, Bestwick said, were previously incarcerated at the Henry County Jail, while others were outside of jail and wanted to overcome their addictions.

The director said four women currently involved in the program at Shining Light, stay at the facility at a cost of $600 per month for 12 months.

Charity motorcycle rides for the ministry, in 2009 and 2010, raised $3,000 to $4,000 over the first two years the event was held. Bestwick is hoping to set a record this year for the ride.

"The first year, we had about 30 bikes, and the second year we had 60 bikes," she said. "We're wanting to get 100 this year."

In addition to the ride, participants will be able to meet members of the Sky Soldiers helicopter demonstration team, according to Bestwick.

"Riders will have the opportunity to fly in a Vietnam or Cobra helicopter," she said.

The fee is $50 for a Huey helicopter ride, and $450 for a Cobra ride.

Brandon Burdett of McDonough is organizing the Hawg Heaven Bike Ride for the third straight year. He said Bestwick's passion for helping addicted women inspired him.

"I saw somebody making a difference in our community, and I wanted to help them continue to do that," said Burdett. "This is a way to give back to community, and raise awareness about Shining Light."

For more information, call Brandon Burdett at (770) 490-6016.