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Bike in place to help fallen Marine’s family

The Dove Project, a group of volunteer college students, is organizing a fundraiser for the family of Staff Sgt. David Stewart, the Marine from Stafford County who was killed in combat June 20 in Afghanistan.

The fundraiser will be a 24-hour stationary bike ride on Friday at Stafford Sport & Health.

A dozen teams of up to five members—60 riders in all—will take turns peddling continuously from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Saturday in a relay-style ride. Spectators can come watch the riders and cheer them on.

Businesses and individuals interested in donating to the cause are encouraged to donate any amount online at or to donate by check at the event.

The group hopes to raise $5,000 to help build a new play area and backyard for the family. The Dove Project has already managed to obtain about $2,350 through fundraising.

Any extra money generated through the fundraiser will go to the Stewart family, said The Dove Project founder Brandon Cobb, a student at James Madison University.

The group is teaming up with Home Depot to purchase the backyard furnishings, Cobb said. Home Depot has agreed to install the play set free of charge, he added.

Cobb said Marines from Quantico had reached out to him about helping renovate the backyard, and, along with the college students, they will plant a garden and install sandboxes, swings and other new amenities in the Stewarts’ yard.

Stewart’s surviving family members include his wife Kristine, 32, and two young children, 2-year-old MacKenzie and 14-month-old Marshall.

Both David and Kristine Stewart graduated from North Stafford High School, where the couple first started dating 17 years ago.

This is the first summer that The Dove Project has taken up volunteer work in the Fredericksburg area, Cobb said.

The group was established by college students who wanted to dedicate their summer to community service.

The group has partnered with other organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Stafford County SPCA this summer.

Throughout the summer, The Dove Project is filming a documentary to share their story and spread the spirit of volunteerism to other campuses across the nation who want to start their own chapters in order to serve their local communities.

Katie Shepherd: 540/374-5417


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