Monday, July 22, 2013

VETS 5 | Soldier Ride The Hamptons

Left: Tony Ganga, "Boss", Past Commander of the Sons of
the American Legion, Post #419, East Hampton, NY. Right:
The Wounded Warrior Project's Ride and Walk event was on Saturday, July 20, 2014. It started at Ocean View Farm, 551 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, NY 11930, which is also the address of the ride and the Amagansett walk. There was also a walk in Sag Harbor.

The Hamptons ride and walk is dedicated to Marine Lance Corporal Jordan C. Haerter, killed in action April 22, 2008 in Ramadi, Iraq at 19. He and 21-year-old Corporal Jonathan T. Yale are credited with saving the lives of more than 33 Marines and Iraqi police and were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for Extraordinary Heroism, the second-highest military award. Jordan Haerter was born July 30, 1988 in Southampton, New York to JoAnn Lyles and Christian Haerter. He became a U.S Marine on December 1, 2006 and became a member of the 1st Battalion, 9thMarines, known proudly as the “Walking Dead.”
Left: JT Marlin. Right: Nick Kraus, who organized the "Rock
the Farm" event.

The schedule of events on July 20 was  as follows:
7 am - Registration ($50 cyclists, 30-60 miles, $25 young cyclists or walkers or BBQ only). Sign up at
8:30 am - Kickoff celebration followed at 9 am by the departure of the cyclists. The walkers leave after the cyclists.
12-4 pm - As cyclists and walkers return, community BBQ and picnic at Ocean View Farm.
6 pm - Rock the Farm - separate event (tickets at Soldiers Ride Hamptons of the Wounded Warriors Project continued its successful fund-raising program based on 30-mile and 60-mile bicycle rides, two walking options, and a picnic following the ride.

Luckily, the weather was perfect. Rain would have made the parking lot muddy.

In all, I was told that the total number of riders and walkers showing up at the Ocean View Farm in Amagansett between the car wash and Vicki's on Montauk Highway was 1,050. If they each paid $25, that would be about $25,000.

I wondered how such a huge undertaking could be run by volunteers so I went backstage. Tony Ganga (with "Boss" printed on the back of his shirt, just in case there was any question) was a key player in keeping the volunteers working effectively. He was in charge of the set up from 7 to 11 am, the breakfast-picnic until 4 pm, and then the breakdown of the tents and tables and chairs until 5 pm. He had 11 volunteers signed up to work with him and his two lieutenants in the morning. His two deputies were Jill Helm, Past President of the Ladies Auxiliary of Post #419, and Clint Bennett, past member. In the afternoon they had nine volunteers.. Special committees were formed for registration, parking and music.
Start of ride in Amagansett. The long ride was east to Montauk.
The short ride was to East Hampton and Sag Harbor.

Many of the same people continued to volunteer for the evening "Rock the Farm" event. Tony was again on the set up and maintenance. The registration and parking committees had the same leadership but the number of volunteer was larger, since the entry fee was $130. With 600 tickets sold, that means about $78,000. A good event for a good cause.

The sixth annual ride, on July 20, offered bicyclists the option of riding to East Hampton and Sag Harbor and back, 30 miles, or of riding to the Montauk Lighthouse and back, 60 miles.

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