Charity bicycle ride ends in tragedy for trio of friends
They left for Washington, D.C., with their bicycles in a rental van, posed in front of the White House in their riding gear and set out on their journey on April 19.
Only Hunt, 41, made it home to Sanford.
As the three men cycled through rural Georgia about 10 p.m. on April 26, a van hit them from the rear. Hunt told the Georgia State Patrol that they were riding along the right edge of U.S. Highway 17, between the white line and the shoulder.
A trooper said they had plenty of lights and reflective gear on their bicycles and helmets. The driver of the van said he did not see the bicycles, a crash report shows.
Now, family and friends are grieving, and the mission the men supported — Beautiful Feet International — plans to honor Metts as it continues its work. The Osteen man was a board member who persuaded his buddies to join him on the pledge ride, covering 100 miles a day.
“He saw people who were less fortunate than he was, and he wanted to do everything he could to help,” said the Rev. Alan Brumback of Central Baptist Church in Sanford, who officiated at separate memorial services for Metts and Dunn.
Metts, 48, learned his charitable ways from his late mother, who ran a food bank in Sanford. He became devoted to religion after a near-fatal traffic crash several years ago. Metts had been on mission trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Peru and China, friends said.
“He had a big heart,” said Ken Heiland, vice president of Beautiful Feet International. “He cared about people here and around the world. He had a lot of friends. A lot of people respected him and liked him.”
Metts and his friends were riding to raise money for a pregnancy center in Costa Rica that Beautiful Feet International is setting up. The group intends to name the center after him, Heiland said. Beautiful Feet International also is planning a tribute to Metts at its annual benefit concert on May 19.
Beautiful Feet International’s name comes from Romans 10:15, which says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.”
Metts owned Super Trim Lawn Care Landscaping in Osteen. Dunn, 47, lived in Sanford and installed windows and doors for Home Depot and Lowes, mainly in Seminole County. They were salt-of-the-earth guys excited to be taking their first trip together to the nation’s capital, said Dunn’s mother, Sandra Dunn.