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Prince family gets show of support
Motorcycle ride backs memorial fund
4 Memorial Ride pic
Tara, Mike and Ryan Prince expressed their gratitude on Saturday for those who participated in the Griffin and Jake Prince Memorial Ride and Classic Car Cruise-In. - photo by Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News

In a season when boat outings and long days enjoying Lake Lanier are common, it's difficult to imagine a day on the water taking a tragic turn.

That's exactly what happened for the Prince family on June 18 when two of their sons - Jake, 9, and Griffin, 13 - were killed in a boating accident on the lake.

After the community was stunned by the young boys' deaths, Dawson County Sheriff's Lt. Doug Boyle felt compelled to do something to help support the Prince family any way he could.

Saturday's Griffin and Jake Prince Memorial Ride was the result.

"This event is about our communities coming together and reaching out to this family in their time of sorrow and sadness, and what better way to do it," Boyle said.

Sheriff's offices from Hall, Lumpkin, Forsyth and Dawson counties were involved in sponsoring the event.

Saturday's 70-mile ride not only included a police-escorted motorcycle trip around Lanier through four counties, but also a performance by the Brian Jarrett Band, food from Checkered Flag Catering and a classic car show at the Dawsonville endpoint.

All proceeds from the motorcycle ride and car show went to the boys' memorial fund, while portions of food and vendor proceeds did as well.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan described the turnout Saturday as inspiring.

"I thought it was really awesome and almost overwhelming to see hundreds of motorcycles come driving in," he said.

"But most of all, knowing why they are doing it, to help the Prince family, that is great. To see that many people gather together for one thing and not for themselves is really awe inspiring."

Dawsonville residents Donna Jammes and her husband rode in the ride and said it was "amazing" how the cars would "pull over and show respect."

"It's just so hard to explain the feeling of being a part of something like this," she said.

"We have two boys and it really hits home for us. My oldest is 21 and my baby is 16, so it's really hard to think of a loss like that. I couldn't even imagine. It would totally be the end of our world."

At the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, where the ride ended, father Mike Prince choked up with emotion as he thanked organizers, vendors and participants.

"We just thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for supporting our family, for lifting us up. I am humbled by your generosity and kindness," he said.

"In a time like this when your heart breaks and you don't know where you are going to find those pieces to put your heart back together, it is people like you and kind acts like this that help it to mend.

"On behalf of all of our family, our extended family and our friends, thank you. We can never thank you all enough. You are wonderful, kind people and God bless every one of you.

Dawson County Sheriff Billy Carlisle also thanked participants for their support and encouraged them to keep the Prince family in their prayers.

"Don't let it end today, keep them in your prayers, because they are going to need more support," he said.

According to a sheriff's office press release, the event had more than 300 registered motorcyclists, 15 vendors and 30 classic cars.

Staff writer Chelsea Thomas contributed to this article.