Nearly 200 people turned up on October 18th to join in the first annual “Ride for a Reason” ATV trail-ride in Machias, Maine. This fundraiser was organized by Shawn Goody, a U.S. Navy Veteran, who was inspired by the personal story of Active Heroes volunteer Justin Fitch. Justin is a veteran of the U.S. Army who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. In the spirit of a true hero, Justin has dedicated his life to spreading the message of Active Heroes and fighting for the well-being of his fellow veterans. Justin participated in the ATV event, which raised over $5,000.
Shawn was quick to praise the dedication of Justin, the other participants in the trail ride, and the success of the goals they set out to accomplish. “The money is a small thing compared to the awareness we raised about the issue of Veteran suicide. The execution was a group effort, and this surpassed the expectations of everyone involved.” The event was organized less than a month before it happened, but word spread quickly and gathered support from the local community and surrounding areas. Over 150 ATVs and 200 people participated in the ride.
Ride for a Reason also saw the creation and bestowment of the Justin Fitch Award of Excellence, given by Active Heroes for demonstrations of selfless service, initiative towards raising veteran suicide awareness, and dedication towards helping our group achieve its goals. Local community member Dean McGuire received this award at the conclusion of Ride for a Reason for spending hours transporting people to and from the event.
Read about the local news coverage of this event here, and stay tuned for the next one in 2015!