We’ve been telling you about Light the Heights, an effort initially launching in Seminole Heights to light up houses while police were still searching for a killer.
Now, with an arrest, the effort is continuing, this time, to spread holiday cheer. The kickoff for the first annual event is Sunday.
As part of the event, Monica Hoffa’s family has coordinated a memorial motorcycle ride. They’ll be joined by hundreds of others this weekend to help a community in their time of need.
“We love riding motorcycles. It’s our passion and we travel all around the country just to do it,” said Bobby Hoffa.
Sunday he’ll share that passion with the Seminole Heights community, in memory of his niece Monica, and the three other victims, Benjamin Mitchell, Anthony Naiboa, and Ronnie Felton, who were gunned down by a killer terrorizing that neighborhood.
“I never thought I’d be doing a ride for one of my family members. We’ve always done them for other people. This is definitely going to be one special ride,” he said.
It’s all part of a kickoff for the first Light the Heights.
Volunteers will be going door to door hanging Christmas lights to spread holiday cheer.
Hoffa and Mechiel Kopaska are part of the Tampa Harley Riders Group. With the killings hitting especially close to home, they wanted to do something to give back. Benefit rides are part of what they do.
“Communications started going out to all of our biker friends and then those biker friends have been telling those biker friends, and now it’s blossomed into a huge community event,” Kopaska said.
More than 100 bikers are expected. They’ll be riding from Lutz into Southeast Seminole Heights ending at Southern Brewing.
On the back of Hoffa’s bikes, a Seminole Heights flag will wave as a symbolism of freedom from fear that once gripped the community.
“I’m going to be putting Monica in a place in my heart where she’s free. No one will ever hurt her again," Hoffa said. "I’m hoping all the other families will know that their brother and sisters are free and nobody else can ever hurt them again.”
A motorcycle ride in one accord, bringing holiday cheer to this community as they try to heal.
The Light the Heights events will run all day Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Restaurants, bars and shops will feature an array food, drink specials, live music, and other activities at 60 businesses throughout Seminole Heights.