DAWSONVILLE, Ga. -- Many of those watching had to dry their eyes-no one said a word. They watched as the Princes spoke publicly for the first time since their family of five became one of three. The family accepted a folded flag from the scout group their sons were a part of, and then Michael Prince Jr. stepped forward.
"In a time like this where your heart breaks, and you don't know where you're going to find those pieces to put it back together, it's people like you and kind acts like this that help it to mend," he told the group of several dozen in front of Dawsonville's city hall. "On behalf of all of our family and our extended family and our friends, thank you, we can never thank you all enough, you're wonderful, kind people and may God bless every one of you. Thank you."
It's been nearly two months since police say a drunken boater slammed into a pontoon carrying the Prince family. Their two boys were killed in the accident, and Johns Creek business owner Paul Bennett has been charged with homicide.
Sheriff's offices from several North Georgia counties helped organize the ride. More than 300 bikers signed up for the 70+ mile trip around Lake Lanier. They were led by Michael Prince and his son. They hoped to raise several thousand dollars to help the family out with funeral expenses.
"We want them to know that [as a community,] we're not just here for today," said Lt. Doug Boyle of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office. "From here on out, we're here for them."
Several booths were set up selling "Team Prince" pins and t-shirts. The shirts said "family is forever" on the back. That seemed to be the lesson of the day. Many said they felt it could have happened to their own families.
"Hopefully the message would be to get together with your families often," said the Prince brothers' maternal grandfather Gary Hansen. "And understand that people have good hearts, the love that's been shared with us, the many things that have been offered to us and done on our behalf -we're just so grateful for all of it."
You can learn more about the two Prince brothers and their family by reading about their funeral service.