Home Again Home Again
Sunday, September 23 2018
By Grant Fletcher, Kelowna
The day that lay ahead was different than the previous 9 Days. Today we made the relatively short trek from Vernon to Kelowna. Our day starts with a quick bus ride down from Silver Star to a terrific breakfast courtesy of Denny’s in Vernon. A bit of a delay to our ride as everyone does some cleaning and oiling of their bikes after yesterday’s late afternoon monsoon. A sign of the day ahead – sunshine breaking through the clouds and after early morning starts at near 0 degrees, 11 degrees seems almost balmy.
With Gevan up front on the Harley and Jesse at our rear in the PC we make, at this point, a routine ride into Lake Country for a brief visit with 2 families that Cops for Kids has supported recently. Families who have spent significant time at BC Children’s with their child. These 2 families and the families we are soon to meet at the finale, 45 minutes from here, reinforce for all of us why we are out on the road. Back in the saddle, with our principal sponsor Al Hildebrandt joining us, we are off on the final leg of an incredible journey. Along the way we pick up an RCMP escort to get us through all intersections as we make the final push to the Ramada Lodge where we are greeted by family, friends, dignitaries and media.
The team assembles for introductions and final pictures of the 2018 team. Kind words and greetings are extended by our MC Phil Johnson of Bell Media, music from Wentworth Music students are followed by congratulatory comments from senior RCMP members representing South East District and Kelowna Detachment and Maxine DeHart on behalf of the City of Kelowna. Once again we are honoured to meet a number of children & their family. Families who benefit from the fundraising the riders did in order to have the privilege of this 10 day experience.
From the send -off breakfast through 29 communities, there was the joy of meeting “Little Hearts” and their families. Whether a first time participant or one of us old timers, tears would well up and our hearts would glow as we listened to family members telling us how Cops for Kids have had such a significant impact on their lives. For many members of the team they were introducing children and families from the communities which they serve. The money raised through their efforts at work in their community.
With official duties of the team concluded we disperse to the arms of those waiting. We then search out each other for good byes that conclude with “hope to see you for next year’s ride”
It was once again my honour to spend 10 days with a compassionate group of women & men ranging in age from 27 to 69 sharing a common cause – the wellbeing of children in our communities.
After 10 days on the road the majority of the team will be sleeping in their own beds tonight. Happy to be home, but missing the team and the adventure we experienced together.
Funds raised by the riders are destined to assist children in South East BC faced with medical, traumatic and physical crisis. Our thanks go out to all our sponsors and supporters who provide our meals, accommodation and transportation services for the ride. Without their generosity, the ride would not occur. We also acknowledge the support provided the riders by their families who sacrifice valuable time together so they can undertake fundraising and training in addition to 10 days away from home.
I would be remise if, on behalf of the riders, I did not extend our appreciation for the hard work of our support crew – Julio, Ken, Allen, Gevan, Jesse and Courtney who insure the bodies are fueled and the wheels keep turning.
We are extremely proud to announce that Cops for Kids fundraising to date this year exceeds over $440,000 which will support “Little Hearts”. Unfortunately there is never enough to satisfy the needs. To date this year Cops for Kids has over 195 requests for support under consideration. We’d hate to say no due to lack of funds.
Donations are gratefully accepted throughout the year.
Thank You for supporting Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation.
Grant Fletcher, President – Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation