Eleven bicyclists on a fund-raising ride for the families of 11 fallen New York City firefighters will complete their 336-mile journey from the District to a Staten Island, N.Y., firehouse tomorrow.
The bicyclists, who left the District Thursday, will present a contribution to the firefighters’ families tomorrow afternoon at Rescue 5 in Staten Island, which lost half of its crew in the World Trade Center attack on September 11.
“I really just wanted us to be able to ride and do something good and give money to somebody, and it really worked out,” said Glenn Wisch, a dentist from Paramus, N.J., who arranged the ride.
Dr. Wisch, a long-distance bicyclist with experience arranging charity rides, said he was motivated to organize this ride after visiting ground zero in Lower Manhattan a week after the attacks.
He said he called the New York City Fire Department for information about who would benefit most from the contribution, and that’s when he heard about Rescue 5.
“We did a year’s worth of work in five weeks,” Dr. Wisch said. He expects the ride to raise between $10,000 and $15,000 for the families.
“It’s a good solid feeling that we’re doing this,” said Roger Donna, 51, an optician from Torrington, Conn., one of the riders.
Wednesday night the group of 24 which included the 11 riders, three alternates and 10 others following in five safety vehicles were the guests of the D.C. Firefighters Association. The union hosted a spaghetti dinner for the riders at Rescue Company 1, and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, came by the station house to see them off.
“In the years ahead, long after this tragedy has faded from the headlines, there will still be mortgages, car payments, and college tuition that will need to be paid,” Mr. Hoyer said. “This is why this ride is doubly important. Not only does it highlight the sacrifice made by over 300 firefighters on September 11, but it helps to support the families that those brave firefighters left behind.”
Jane Kerr, Dr. Wisch’s assistant, said communities along the route pledged their support, state police provided border-to-border escorts, and fire stations along the way hosted the bicyclists.
In Denton, Md., after Thursday’s 82-mile ride, firefighters hosted a dinner for the cyclists, and community members put them up in private homes.
Officials at the Lewes, Del.-Cape May, N.J. Ferry waived fees for the group when they came through yesterday. Last night they stayed in Tuckertown, N.J., after riding 122 miles, the longest leg of the trip.
The fire department in Lavallette, N.J., offered to pay for the group to stay in hotels tonight after their 50-mile ride.
Tomorrow, in Ocean Grove, N.J., the mayor and the president of the chamber of commerce will host a catered breakfast on the town green. The group will pass through Ocean Grove in the middle of an 82-mile trip that will take them by ferry into Manhattan. From there they’ll take the Staten Island Ferry to Rescue 5, where they are expected to arrive at 4:30 p.m.