June 22, 2019
After months of planning, the day finally arrived for our first Chapter “Fundraiser” ride for our own founding member Richie Ortiz, with our “Fight the Fight-Ride for Richie” event.
As a group we could not have asked for a better day, weather wise, to hold our event at Suffolk County Harley-Davidson. This was after we endured a week of Non-Stop rain.
Early in the year the idea of a ride for one of our own was brought up by Road Captain Paule and Richie’s buddy, Assistant Road Captain Frank. There was no thinking about this, we all as a group decided it was the thing to do in order to help Richie and his family. At that time the wheels began turning on how to execute this ride and make it a success!
The ride route was decided to be a route that Richie and Frank liked to take when they wanted to get their “Knees in the Breeze!”. That being a ride down to Ocean Parkway, toward Jones Beach, around the water tower and back. Now it was time to get together, decide on food, volunteers and raffles in order to raise as much money for our brother. Flyers were printed, and all members took the time to attend various rides though out Long Island to show support for their cause and solicit support for ours. That being said, I would like to thank our entire chapter for their support, either with helping out with all aspects of ride, food prep, donations, traffic, etc. We all did a great job, and it was appreciated not only by the Chapter, but Richie’s Family! THANK YOU!
The day of the ride members arrived early at Suffolk County Harley and began setting up. I must admit, I was a little uneasy, not because of what the chapter had done, we were prepared, just for the fact you wanted people to respond. Once the first bikes rolled into the lot, that feeling began to subside. Before too long Bikes began streaming in, and the lot began to fill. Riders who could not stay for the ride, stopped by and donated to our cause, before heading back out on their way. This shows how charitable our “Biker Community” is throughout the Country.
At about 10 am, a Red Pontiac GTO convertible arrived in the lot. Assistant Road Captain, Frank, had arranged for this vehicle to be present, for Richie and his family to ride in and lead us during the ride. Shortly after, Richie and his family arrived and after greeting everyone, we gathered for a Chapter picture with our brother. Just seeing the smile on Richie’s face made all this work the Chapter performed, worth every minute of time spent planning and working on the event! After all, it was for Richie!
At about 11 am, Head Road Captain Paule, gathered the bikers, which had grown to over a hundred strong, and detailed our route, ride etiquette, and the reason why we were all there. Paul along with his son, then lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Shortly after, Assistant Road Captain Frank’s wife, Veronica, led us in prayer and thereafter, we mounted our bikes and headed out on our ride.
The ride was escorted along our route by members of the Suffolk County Police Highway patrol, and The New York State Police. A special Thank you to Angelo, for arranging this escort. It made our ride organized and enjoyable for all! As we made our way along the route, and on to Ocean Parkway, Richie radioed to the members that he was enjoying the ride and thanked us all. That made it all worth it, knowing he and his family were enjoying our efforts.
When we returned from the ride, it was great to see that all stayed along and enjoyed the food, and music that was provided. Raffles were sold and Irish John did his best impression as a “Hooters Girl!” selling 50/50 tickets! Maybe next time we can arrange to have the “Real Thing!”
Overall, at conclusion, the ride was a success! There may have been a few “Hiccups” along the way, but due to the planning and support of all, they were quickly and seamlessly taken care of, and the ride rolled on! I as well, as the entire chapter would like to thank all the Chapter's family members who helped preparing food, serving the food, selling raffles and everything else. This was more than a big help, and really appreciated. Also, a shout out to our Members who stayed behind to make sure everything was ready for when we returned from the ride, especially Larry and Kimble, who maned the grill, and Jen, working those raffles. If I left anyone out, I apologize, your work was appreciated!!!
I must say I was impressed by all the support our chapter displayed getting this thing from an idea to a success in a short time. As I met other riders that participated in the ride, they had nothing but good things to say about our efforts! That is something to be proud of, since this Chapter has only been up and running for a short time. It shows the quality and heart of our members. We came together to help “Our Own” and no matter how much we raised, it helped, but for those few hours, we made Richie and his Family smile and take their minds off things for a while. That is what it is all about!
Thanks again to all! Head Road Captain Paule and Assistant Road Captain Frank will go over everything at the next meeting! Hope to see you all then. Till that time ride safe and enjoy the weather!