‘Let’s Be Heroes’ motorcycle event raises money for family of slain teenager

NILES — Dozens of motorcyclists hopped on their bikes and revved their engines Saturday to raise money for a grieving family.

Members of the Niles, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg communities and beyond convened at the Niles Lowe’s, 2055 S. 11th St., Saturday afternoon for the inaugural Let’s Be Heroes event, a motorcycle ride fundraiser created for the family of Vandalia resident Jessica Heroy, who passed away May 16 at the age of 15 in an apparent accidental shooting after a 12-year-old boy pointed a gun at her and pulled the trigger.

Established by the South Bend-based motorcycle group 3D Ryderz Motorcycle Club, the event served to raise money for Heroy’s funeral costs. The 3D Ryderz asked for a minimum donation of $15 and set up a donation booth at 3 p.m.

“I started organizing this on Tuesday, and we had hits like this all week long,” said 3D Ryderz member and event organizer Dana Isaac. “I just hope the community comes together and sees that this family really needs help.

After donations were collected, the bike ride phase of the event began. Escorted by both the Niles Police Department and The Cass County Sheriff Department, participants set off from Lowe’s and drove to and through downtown Cassopolis before arriving at Heroy’s residence in Vandalia.

Heroy’s uncle, Matthew Jackson, said both he and his wife, Sunshine, were appreciative of the outpouring of support from community members.

“The support has just been amazing,” he said. “I’ve been so destroyed over this, ut this is very uplifting to see all the communities supporting us. They don’t even know us but they are bending over backward to help us, and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

Isaac said he hopes to make the ride an annual event.

“With me being third rank in a motorcycle club, I’m able to pull communities together,” he said. “To the family, we’re there for you no matter what. We’re going to put this ride together every year and raise more funds to help the family.”

Readers looking to donate can do so on the “Jessica’s funeral” GoFundMe page created by Heroy’s cousin and close friend Brooklynn Jackson. To date, the page has raised more than $3,700.

Jackson hopes the event pleased Heroy and that the funds raised can help her family.

“I hope Jessica can see from up there how much support she has,” she said. “I just hope we can raise enough money to give her the funeral she wants and deserves.”

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