Ride to Remember prepares for 10th anniversary event
(WGGB/WSHM) -- For the last nine years, retired Springfield Police Sergeant John Delaney has been at the helm of Ride to Remember, a bike ride dedicated to fallen western Massachusetts first responders, especially those who died in the line of duty.
It all started in 2013 when 120 participants biked from Springfield to Boston in honor of Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose and Westfield Police Officer Jose Torres.
“We lost two friends. I lost two friends. I lost two people that were hardworking family men, that were police officers that dedicated their life,” Delaney explained.
Since its inaugural year, Ride to Remember has grown by the hundreds, including both first responders and the general public.
“The year before COVID, we had over 500 [riders]. Tomorrow, we have about 400 getting on bicycles,” Delaney noted.
For almost a decade, organizers have also done more to honor the area’s fallen heroes and assist their families.
“We’ve built soccer field memorials in Springfield. We’ve donated a lot of money to charities that involve families, homeless mothers and children, and it’s done a lot of good because those officers were family members first, police officers second,” Delaney added.
As Ride to Remember commemorates its tenth anniversary, Delaney told Western Mass News the 50-mile route will have a special meaning and stay in western Massachusetts.
“The first rest stop is really important because it’s at Hillcrest Park Cemetery on Parker Street in Springfield. That’s where Officer Kevin Ambrose was laid to rest. We’re going to have a ceremony there, bagpipes will be there,” Delaney said.
The participants in blue jerseys will also stop at the Holyoke Police Department to honor one of their fallen officers, John DiNapoli.
Overall, Delaney said for as much turnout as possible, “it’s a celebration of life for those members of police officers and firefighters that have given this life for people. We want those people who were protected to come and say thanks.”
The bikers will start pedaling at 9 a.m. Saturday from the Irish Cultural Center and finish at that same spot.
Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.