Making Children Safe … One Child At A Time. That’s how the early morning ceremony for the Ride for Missing and Exploited Children kicked-off at the YMCA in Oneida.

According to WIBX, more than 400 riders gathered for the 100 mile ride throughout the county with planned stops at 17 area schools to spread their message about hope of finding those still missing, keeping children safe, and remembering those who lost their lives after being abducted by a predator.

One special guest who spoke at the event experienced first hand about child abductions. His daughter Elizabeth Smart was abducted in 2002. Ed Smart travelled all the way from Utah for the bike ride campaign, and to thank those who worked tirelessly to bring his daughter back home. He said life is getting back to normal for Elizabeth. “Elizabeth has just returned from an LDS mission in France and this coming week on the 25th, which happens to be National  Missing Children’s Day, is the day that her predator will be sentenced, so it’s going to be a very special day for us, it’s going to be the end of the nightmare that Elizabeth has lived,” Smart said.

Smart says it’s important that parents make sure they teach their children about personal safety. The ride will conclude this afternoon at New Hartford Rec. Center at 5:45 p.m. Parents will have the opportunity to have their children fingerprinted for safety and have their photo ID cards made. There will also be a reception where the community can meet and greet the riders and learn more about the national movement to protect and rescue children.

For more information about the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children visit, or

Read the full story from our sister station WIBX.