Friday, July 24, 2015

Wheels of Justice Spin for Charity

Congratulations go out to Montgomery County’s law enforcement community, riding with the district attorney’s “Wheels of Justice” team, who completed last Sunday’s annual 65-mile Irish Pub Tour De Shore charity ride, which honors police officers killed in the line of duty and benefits the children they left behind.

The team collectively raised more than $70,000 and won the John Timoney Award for the largest team and most fundraising.

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele even geared up and joined the team’s 250 members, composed of law enforcement officials from within the ranks of Ferman's office as well as local police departments and sheriff’s deputies, for the 28th annual event.

“I rode. This year was grueling. It was the hottest day in memory for me riding Tour De Shore. The heat was crushing,” Ferman told me. “For most of the ride, I was not just drinking water but pouring water over my head as I rode. I doused myself with water and within a few moments it would be dry. It was just sweltering hot.”
GEARED UP Montco First Asst. DA Kevin Steele & DA Risa Vetri Ferman/Photo courtesy of Risa Ferman

Ferman completed the ride in just over five hours.
“Not too shabby in that heat for an old broad like me,” joked Ferman, who turned 50 this year.

The road trip, Ferman said, was also the most crowded she had ever seen. This year, more than 2,300 cyclists participated in the event.
“Sometimes the conditions on the roadway were not ideal. People were falling and getting injured. During the course of the ride we heard ambulances. Notwithstanding all of that, it was the best time that I ever had,” Ferman said.
READY TO GO! Montco DA Risa Vetri Ferman/Photo courtesy of Risa Ferman

“There is such a sense of camaraderie and fellowship at this event. We all ride on different teams and certainly there’s a great deal of competition among the teams in the buildup to the ride. But on the day of, we are truly one team united in support of our first responders who put their lives on the line for us every day,” Ferman added.

The bike ride from Philadelphia to Atlantic City benefits the Irish Pub Children's Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds for Delaware Valley-based, children-oriented charitable endeavors. With record turnout the foundation surpassed its $800,000 fundraising goal for 2015. The Irish Pub Children’s Foundation has raised more than $5 million since its inception, according to officials.
AFTER THE RIDE A FAN CAME IN HANDY/Photo Courtesy of Risa Ferman

This marked the seventh year that the Wheels of Justice team participated in the event. To date, the team has helped raise more than $335,000 for the charity over the course of the seven years.

Wheels of Justice Team/Photo Courtesy of Risa Vetri Ferman
“I’m very proud to be from Montgomery County when we go down to Atlantic City for this ride. Montgomery County’s presence is very well known and visible,” Ferman said.

The Wheels of Justice team, along with its sister team, Team G-Riders, represent all facets of the Montgomery County criminal justice system, including the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department, county Public Safety Department, local police departments and local defense lawyers, judges and friends and families of law enforcement.

“We ride in honor of many heroes, but the ride has taken on a very special meaning since Montgomery County lost Plymouth Township Police Officer Brad Fox in 2012,” Ferman said. “We ride in Brad’s memory in honor of our fallen hero and we ride to honor the service and sacrifice of all our first responders who put their lives on the line every single day so that the rest of us can be safe.”
Photo Courtesy of Risa Vetri Ferman

The event was created in 1987 when Cathy Burke and Mark O’Connor, owners of the Irish Pub, were looking for ways to give back to the community and bridge the gap between the Irish pubs in Philadelphia and Atlantic City.

“Twenty-eight years ago, this ride started out with 20 riders and has now exceeded our wildest expectations,” said O’Connor, president of the Irish Pub Children’s Foundation. “What was once a casual ride of 20 has now become a can’t-miss Delaware Valley event every summer.”

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