Dozens Bike 100 Miles for Missing Children

May 25, 2011 Updated May 25, 2011 at 5:48 PM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

May 25, 2011 Updated May 25, 2011 at 5:48 PM EDT

WILLIAMSVILLE, NY (WKBW) -- It was an early morning start for riders at the ECC North Campus in Williamsville on Wednesday for the 5th Annual Bike Ride for Missing Children. "It is one of 5 rides that take place across the state that support the work of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children," Executive Director Edward Suk, of the Buffalo center, said.

60 bicyclists rode 100 miles lead by the chair of the event, Pastor Pat Hilkey. The riders were led on a journey across Erie County and made several stops at schools. "They have hundreds of children who are out in the bus loop cheering the riders on as they come in and what we're doing... is reinforcing safety messages that we have delivered to the kids in the two weeks prior to the actual ride event," Suk said.

4th graders at Ledgeview Elementary in Clarence say they have learned those safety messages. "Check first, take a friend, say no, tell a trusted adult," the students said.

Their teacher says these lessons are especially important to remember as summer approaches. "Very important to Ledgeview and our kids. The message is loud and clear, always check and just say no, trust that gut feeling," Ledgeview 4th grade teacher Sue Balthasar said.

Some adults who were victims themselves were also out supporting the ride and speaking to kids about their experiences. "My father received custody of me, I was age 10. My first unsupervised visit, my mother kidnapped me, we traveled to 5 countries, 13 different residencies, many unique and dangerous situations," Scott Berne said. "I was found 2 years later."

May 25th is national missing childrens' day. For more information go to