Cyclist rides to promote veterans’ recovery
Published 10:21 am Friday, September 23, 2016
Somewhere between here and Key West, Florida, Jerry Lachance is being guided and cared for by angels, not the least of which are at the Franklin Fire and Rescue Department.
That’s how the 68-year-old cyclist/volunteer firefighter described the many people who have made his journey possible since he left Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, a town just south of the border with Canada, on Sept. 2. His goal is to raise awareness of veterans who have been injured or disabled by their wartime experiences; included in that quest is to raise money for Ride 2 Recovery.
His target was $10,000, and to date $12,493 has been generated, according to the details posted at http://r24.convio.net/goto/lachance. You can also follow his progress on Facebook.
Before he arrived in Franklin last Thursday night, Lachance had come from Batesville, Maryland. At the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, he stated his intent to the officials. They admitted him across for free, but he had to be transported across by another vehicle.
“Marvelous” is how he described that experience.
After showering and changing clothes, Lachance was treated by the crew to a salad and large plate of spaghetti. In between bites, his story unfolded.
Though not severely injured during his own duty in Vietnam, the decorated veteran has reached out to soldiers who have lost parts of themselves in battles.
“Many of the guys just want someone to talk to,” he said.
His introduction to R2R came about during one of his earlier cycling trips when he meet a veteran in his home state who used a specially made bicycle and even passed him. A lost limb wasn’t going to slow that man down.
“I was really impressed with that,” said Lachance. “I really think that they need help in many ways.”
Plans to do this type of awareness campaign started back at the end of May. With the help of John Goldman, an “IT guy,” they charted a course, and sought to make arrangements for the cyclist to get a bed, a shower and a meal at various fire and rescue departments along the way.
The motto on his business cards reads “Saving lives by restoring hope and purpose.”
Based on the schedule, Lachance should sometime today be in Daytona, Florida. Ideally, he anticipates making the finishing line by Friday, Sept. 30.
Referencing a Beatles’ song, he called the trip “A magical mystery tour. It’s been wonderful!”
For more about R2R’s lifesaving veteran programs, visit www.ride2recovery.com.