The third annual Motorcycle Ride for Freedom, sponsored by the Front Line Ministry for Freedom, was held Sunday in near-perfect weather conditions from the Pizza Wave parking lot on Metacom Avenue. The route included a 35-mile run through the streets of Bristol, Warren, and nearby Massachusetts. When the riders returned to Bristol about an hour, 15 minutes later, they were treated to a buffet at the Pizza Wave Restaurant, a 50-50 raffle, and prize raffle.
According to race coordinator David Benevides, the event was another great success.
“We had 63 bikes and a total of 136 people that came out to help us support our troops,” he said. “We raised just over $4,000.”
“I really enjoy supporting this effort,” said Kris Carlone, of Bristol, riding in just her second motorcycle run on Sunday. “Tony (her husband) and I participated in the Ride for Diabetes a few weeks ago, and we really enjoyed it. These are worthwhile causes, and I’m all for that.”
Front Line Ministry for Freedom is a Christian-based community outreach program designed to support and encourage troops overseas. This organization is largely made up of dedicated individuals from Bristol County churches and many other individuals who are actively supporting this endeavor.
“Our goal is to pray for our troops on a daily basis and to send care packages with some of the comforts of home,” said Mr. Benevides. “We have individuals in our organization who have been on the battlefield and know the value of home-based support.”
Gail Devine has helped coordinate this event from the beginning and says there is much satisfaction watching this race unfold.
“To see each biker taking time out of their day to ride for our military is awesome,” she said. “With each care package that goes out, our ladies write them a note to let them know we are praying and thinking of them. The military enjoys getting packages we send them with comforts of home items. They write us thank you notes letting us know how much they enjoyed what we sent them.”
Ms. Devine added, “The military is my love and I get joy out of doing things for them like raising money so we can send them care packages. Since 2008, we have sent out 562 care boxes with comforts of home items. We also send them calling cards around the holidays so they can call their family. From October 2012 to July 2013, we have raised $7,206.05 for care packages. We raise money by holding candy drives and we also have money banks at business locations.”