Saturday, May 12, 2018

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Vietnam vet takes bike hike up east coast

Lachance with Arlington FD Captain Bill Steenbergh

ARLINGTON – A 70-year-old US Army veteran has been traveling up the east coast on a bicycle to raise money and awareness for veterans and first responders. Jerry Lachance of Sandown, NH started his cycling journey on April 9th in Key West and is traveling to the Canadian border, expecting to arrive on May 20th. 

The volunteer firefighter from the small New Hampshire town did the trip from Canada to Key West in 2016 and raised over $25,000 for Ride2Recovery which is part of Project Hero. This year he decided to run the trip in reverse and has raised approximately $9,500 to date.

Lachance has stressed that this trip, working with donors, is designed to give back to those who gave so much.

Project Hero is an adaptive sports medicine organization that serves veterans and first responders and is dedicated to helping those affected by PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other deficiencies to achieve rehabilitation and recovery. They also build and provide adaptive bikes to physically challenged and injured veterans and first responders. The organization has also founded the Project Hero Institute for Mental Health to support clinical research programs. 

Lachance's trip ends at a firehouse along the route almost every night.

On Friday he started his day in Milford, Pennsylvania, on the Delaware River, and crossed the Hudson River, ending at the Arlington Fire District headquarters in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The well-traveled cyclist was greeted by Captain Bill Steenbergh and his firefighters. The union representing the Arlington firefighters, IAFF Local 2393 prepared a meal of steak and potatoes for their guest and will feed him breakfast on Saturday before he departs for Canaan, Connecticut. 

The Vietnam veteran said that Project Hero, through his ride donors, hopes to provide funding for fire departments to purchase bulletproof vests. There has been a surge in violence towards firefighters and medics who are responding to calls. "When you have to wear a flak jacket to go on calls, there's a problem."       Lachance intimated that he can't eliminate the danger but Project Hero can attempt to provide an added level of safety.

To follow the travels of Jerry Lachance or donate to his trip, visit http://r2r.convio.net/site/TR?px=1057650&fr_id=1181&pg=personal

 


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