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News > Navy chiefs, friends raise $17 K completing “Ride Across Maryland”
Navy chiefs, friends raise $17 K completing “Ride Across Maryland”

Posted 6/11/2010   Updated 6/11/2010 Email story   Print story


by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Clifford L. H. Davis
Naval Air Facility Washington D.C. Public Affairs

6/11/2010 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Forty-six active duty, full-time support and retired Navy Chief's and junior enlisted from various commands around Maryland and Virginia, along with their civilian friends gathered in Ocean City, Md. for "Ride Across Maryland," Saturday through Monday.

Hosted by former local news Channel 13 personality, Dick Gelfman, the ride was an opportunity for motorcycle enthusiasts to raise funds and awareness about breast cancer for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Maryland affiliate.

Originally founded by Mr. Gelfman and a small group of friends in 2000, the event has raised $1.7 million in its previous nine years. Now in its tenth year, participants were requested to seek donations or sponsorship after a small entry fee of $30.

The team, United States Navy Chiefs and Friends, collected more than $17,000 in donations from family, friends, and local business owners. Some team members used social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter to help promote the event, while others used more conventional methods like phoning or e-mails.

"The ride is a way for me to support my cousin Kris Hoenig-Edwards and Chief Petty Officer Dabet Velez," said team captain, retired Chief Petty Officer Kirk Towner. "Kris had a double mastectomy at 27 years of age and Dabet passed away while on active duty from breast cancer."

From BMW, Harley, to Yamaha, over 1,200 riders across all different communities came together and adorned their bikes in pink ribbons and were given a full police escort as they rallied at five various staging points in Maryland before arriving at their final rallying point, the Bay Bridge in Annapolis, Md.

Spectators lined up on both sides of the bridge to watch the passing motorcycles while the eastbound lanes were closed so that all riders could make it across safely.

"I'm sure that shutting down the bridge so a thousand bikes could cross it together gets some attention to this cause," said Logistic Support Senior Chief (SW/AW) Doug Fern, Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.

Riders continued on Highway 50 to the Francis Scott Key Resort, located in Ocean City, Md. where they were greeted by more spectators, food by local businesses, music and vendors selling everything from boots, patches and tools that were pink and ergonomically designed for women.

"I was honored to ride with my brother Dwight," said Ms. Lana Hassett, step-sister to retired Senior Chief Dwight Barnthouse and team rider. "I am currently fighting stage IV breast cancer and going on this ride, seeing all the people raising money for women and men in need for a cure touched me to my core."

In total, for the forty-six U.S. Navy Chiefs and Friends team members, they rode a cumulative total of over 7,800 miles - departing their homes to the various rally points and then to Ocean City, Md.

Over the three day event, various first, second and third place awards were presented for largest "ride-team" and the most funds raised by a ride-team, a couple and an individual. Raffles were held for numerous prizes such as a hand-made quilt, motorcycle helmets, and motorcycle safety rider clinics provided by Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

"It's a winning combination," said Mr. Gelfman. "Bikers have a chance to do the thing that means the most to them - enjoy an amazing ride and spend their time and money to stamp out a disease that affects so many people."

Mr. Gelfman presented the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation, Maryland affiliate a check for $300,000, the amount raised by the 2010 "Ride Across Maryland."

This year's check amount tops last year's by $100,000 and has now pushed "Ride Across Maryland's" total contribution to more than $2 million and is the largest amount donated by a Susan K. Komen affiliate branch to breast cancer research.

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