BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Retreat's 5th Annual Ride for Heroes, held on Saturday, Aug. 16, exceeded all previous attendance and fundraising records by attracting 287 participants and raising more than $20,000 for its Uniformed Service Program.
"We are amazed by the outpouring of generosity towards this year's Ride for Heroes," said Brattleboro Retreat's Vice President of Strategy & Development, Konstantin von Krusenstiern. "The collective support from the sponsors, attendees, Ride Champions, and donors was nothing short of astounding. It was a beautiful day and we are so grateful to everyone who came out to show their support.
The ride, with an escort from the Windham County Sheriff's Department, began on the Retreat's campus and continued on a 70-mile tour through Wilmington, Whitingham, and Searsburg, before returning to the Retreat for a barbeque lunch.
The day began with Retreat employee Donny Richard welcoming the riders and speaking about the needs of uniformed professionals everywhere who've experienced trauma in their public service. Tim Johnson sang the national anthem, Pastor Cheryl Meachen offered a blessing, and Mark Hynes gave a safety speech before the riders embarked on their Windham County tour. After returning to campus, the riders enjoyed a barbeque lunch, a raffle, and heard from a former Uniformed Service Program client, who spoke about the program and its role in his recovery.
For the first time this year, participants were invited to fundraise individually for the event by collecting pledges from family and friends. This first-time effort attracted 27 "Ride Champions" who each raised $100 or more for the cause. The top three Ride Champion fundraisers were Colin Young, Terry Emond, and Randy Clark. Together, the Ride Champions raised more than $9,000 for the event.
A new record-level of sponsorship commitments helped set the fundraising pace for the event. Sponsorship support included Platinum sponsors Communicators Group, Sodexo, and WKVT; Gold sponsors Brown Computer Solutions, Fairpoint Communications, GPI Construction, GP Mason Men, GS Precision, Monadnock Harley Davidson, The Richards Group, Sherlock Investment Management, Stop & Go Instant Oil Change; Silver sponsors Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, Santa Buckley Energy, Tactical Office Solutions; Bronze sponsors Bette Abrams, Barclay Water Management, Ken Becker, Dr. James Benton, Mary Faucher, First Choice Communications Services, Five Maples, Hotel Pharmacy, Re-Pete Property, Servpro of Keene, Dr. Rob Simpson, Southern Vermont Sprinkler, Vermont Country Deli, and Workplace and Family Health.
Founded in 2009, the Uniformed Service Program provides specialized treatment and support to military personnel, law enforcement, fire fighters, corrections officers, and EMTs who face post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues as a result of their duty. Funds from Ride for Heroes underwrite important aspects of the program, including recreational therapy, financial assistance for patients, and outreach to ensure those who are in need of mental health and addiction care can access the Retreat's Uniformed Service Program.