Firefighters Ride Raises Funds to Help House Wounded Veterans
On October 6, firefighters from across Washington will take to their bikes in Occidental Park in Seattle to begin a ride that will end at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum 25 days later. Eight fire fighters will ride the entire 1500 mile route and 50 more will join along the route. The riders will stop each night in cities along the way to host fundraisers to benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation’s R.I.S.E. (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment) program. Through the R.I.S.E. program, the Gary Sinise Foundation provides mortgage-free, specially adapted smart homes, home modifications, mobility devices, and adapted vehicles to America’s wounded veterans. R.I.S.E. was established to provide wounded veterans and their families with the resources to overcome their new life challenges — to increase their mobility and reclaim their self-reliance. By the end of this year, 59 specially adapted homes will be completed or underway.
This fundraising journey, Firefighters Ride 4 R.I.S.E (FFR4R) , will be led by Bellevue firefighter Rich Smith and his friend, Rick Kimmel. Smith first learned about the R.I.S.E. program when Kimmel’s son, USMC Sgt. Nick Kimmel received a specially adapted smart home in Fallbrook, CA. Nick Kimmel lost both legs in an IED attack during the war in Afghanistan. “I’ve known Nick Kimmel since he was just a little guy,” says Smith. After his accident in Afghanistan I wanted to help out Nick and his family and after Gary Sinise and his foundation built Nick his home we wanted to give back to the foundation.”
Smith is recruiting riders, sponsors, logistics support and financial contrbutions. For more information, visit FFR4R or email contact [email protected] The ride route includes Seattle, Olympia, and Longview in Washington, Portland, Salem, Eugene, Florence, Coos Bay, Port Orford, and Brookings in Oregon, and Eureka, Garberville, Fort Bragg, Stewarts Point, Santa Rosa, San Francisco, San Jose, Salinas, King City, Paso Robles, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Malibu and Los Angeles in California.
Renton firefighter Tom Sowards is coordinating publicity for this event, if you have questions please contact him at [email protected]