Ride to Beach Becomes Fundraising Challenge

Josh Wooten, a legal investigator for Trussville Chamber member Cory Watson Attorneys, will soon be taking a trip to the beach. Nothing unusual about that, right? Beaches are popular destinations, and millions of people head to one or more each year. But Wooten’s journey will be slightly different from most because he’ll be making the 300-mile-plus trek from Trussville to Panama City Beach on a bicycle.

And this won’t be the first time. Wooten has pedaled to PCB on three previous occasions. But this time, the satisfaction he finds in serving others will provide some of the wind at his back.

“I have always wanted to do some type of fundraiser associated with the ride,” said the 38-year-old Trussville resident, “and since I sit on the Advisory Council at Restoration Academy, I know what great work it does and what an amazing organization it is. So I called Associate Director Ty Williams and asked if the school would be okay with me raising money for a student’s tuition with a ride to the beach.”

Given the green light, Wooten generated Facebook and Instagram accounts along with media and a donation link, and a fundraiser was born. So on May 28, he and a group of guys he’s ridden off and on with since he started road cycling in 2013 will be Gulf Coast bound for a good cause.

“This is something we do on our own,” he said. “We’re all different ages and backgrounds, and our commonality is cycling. It brings us together and has spawned lifelong friendships and memories.”

The ride will take three days with stops in Wetumpka and Dothan. Day 1 will take the riders around 110 miles down the road; Day 2, around 107 miles; and Day 3, around 96 miles.

“We’ll ride about 25-35 miles each leg and stop at gas stations along the way to rest, refuel and hydrate,” Wooten said. “I’ll be updating social media throughout the ride, and pictures and video will be coming in at every stop to keep everyone updated on the trip’s progress.”

A former police officer, a capacity in which he served for 10 years, Wooten enjoys the physical challenge and mental toughness that cycling requires. But the opportunity to benefit others through the sport is giving him yet another reason to love it.

“While I may not protect and serve any longer, I want to serve others because it is part of who I am,” he said. “I once heard Andy Stanley say, ‘Anything that is not about you is important,’ and I want to do something important for a student at Restoration Academy.”

To donate to Wooten’s Restoration Ride for Restoration Academy, click here.