Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett, left, was recently diagnosed with cancer and the benefit ride will help her husband John Garrett financially with medical bills.

The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department is a family and one of its own needs the community’s help.

Tallapoosa County dispatcher Michelle Garrett was diagnosed with aggressive colon cancer in March and the sheriff’s department is organizing a benefit ride to raise money for Garrett and her husband John to offset medical bills and assist with financial needs.

The Michelle Garrett Benefit Motorcycle Ride will launch at 7:30 a.m. June 6 at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex and return around noon in the same location.

The cost to participate as a single rider is $20 or $30 with a passenger, which includes lunch at the end of the 95-mile route. All proceeds benefit Garrett’s fight against cancer.

“Michelle has worked in dispatch here for 11 years,” Tallapoosa County communications supervisor Kim Cotney said. “There’s only eight of us in here, so we’re like a close-knit family. When she was diagnosed with cancer, the (sheriff’s) department as a whole knew we had to do something to help her.”

Chief deputy David McMichael brainstormed the idea of a benefit ride and the community has turned out in droves to assist.

“We’ve had people donate items to raffle off; people have donated cakes for an auction,” Cotney said. “We’ve asked vendors, such as The Home Depot, to donate and several other businesses have donated items or money as well.”

The motorcycle ride will be led by state troopers on bike and trailed by passengers in Jeeps. The Dadeville and Alex City police departments will help with traffic control as the procession crosses over different roadways.

“They will start in Alex City, (go through downtown and out to Cowpens Road) come down (Highway) 22 from New Site into Dadeville, go toward Highway 50 and then up through Red Hill and back around through (Highway) 63,” Cotney said. “When the riders return, we’ll have grilled hot dogs and raffle off the donated items.”

Garrett continued to work after her diagnosis until about two weeks ago when the cancer was reported to have spread.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” Cotney said. “People in this county, fire departments, law enforcement, other departments, have been amazing. Anybody that can help us out, we really appreciate it.”

Amy Passaretti is a staff writer with the Alexander City Outlook.