Military motorcyclists support blind fund relay

Cpl Alex Millham of CFB Comox poses with Military Police National Motorcycle Relay mascot and social media sensation Ordinary Cadet Moira Stone during this year’s ride.

Cpl Alex Millham of CFB Comox poses with Military Police National Motorcycle Relay mascot and social media sensation Ordinary Cadet Moira Stone during this year’s ride.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Motorcyclists across Canada are revving their engines and rocking down the highway this week in the final stages of a coast-to-coast motorcycle relay ride to benefit blind children.

With bright blue skies overhead, the 11th annual Military Police National Motorcycle Relay had their grand send-off from Work Point in Victoria on July 25. Local volunteer riders participated in the opening leg of a 10,000-kilometre road trip that is making stops in 19 different communities and military bases in an effort to raise money for the Military Police Fund for Blind Children (MPFBC).

The relay concludes in St. John’s, Nfld. on Aug. 22.

Lieutenant-Commander Todd Kennedy marked his second year volunteering for the Motorcycle Relay. He volunteered as Rendezvous Coordinator and was also one of 32 riders who participated in the opening leg from Victoria to the BC Ferries Terminal in Sidney.

“People from all walks of life just want to help and be part of the process of helping out blind children,” said LCdr Kennedy. “This comes by first gaining awareness about their needs and then by donating their time and charitable nature to help make the future brighter for our youth.”

That glimmer of light began in 1957 when late Canadian Army Provost Marshall, Colonel James Riley Stone founded the non-profit. His initiative came from the personal tragedy of the death of his daughter Moira Stone who became visually impaired following an eye cancer diagnosis.

In the years following Moira’s death, Stone canvassed military police members and established a charitable organization that helps visually impaired children with financial assistance and support programs. Today the charity has branches at military bases across the country and is operated by military police volunteers.

Since the inaugural motorcycle relay in 2009, a toy teddy bear nicknamed for Moira Stone has accompanied the riders on their journey. This year’s 120-centimetre mascot, Ordinary Cadet Moira Stone and her travels across the country have developed a large following on the relay’s Facebook page, said LCdr Kennedy, and helped further the reach and appeal of their cause and fundraising efforts.

Since its inception the motorcycle relay has raised over $600,000. National Chairperson Major Dale Troia of CFB Trenton heads this year’s fundraiser and says that popularity of the relay continues to grow. He thanked the “reliable and hard-working network” of volunteers for the event’s continued success.

“It takes a lot of preparation by our devoted volunteers who have again this year done a great job,” said Troia. “The riders crossing our magnificent country are volunteers too and they know this is a worthy journey because as a team they are committed to helping visually challenged children receive services and support.”

LCdr Kennedy and Troia also wanted to thank some of the many individuals who helped make this year’s event a success here in Victoria. They included: lead planner and organizer, retired naval warfare officer Kyle Steel, Commissionaire James Sidel, Commissionaire Howie Becker,  Captain Evan Foster of the MPU Comox Detachment, Cpl Bailey Pearce, PO1 David Davies, Cpl Alex Millham, Cpl Pierson York, MS Leigh Walls, Lt(N) David Utzinger, the CFB Esquimalt Auto Hobby Club, Maj (ret’d) Barton Dennis; along with organizations including Canex Esquimalt, the CFB Esquimalt Motorcycle Hobby Club and MARPAC Riders Club; Tim Horton’s on Head Street and the CFB Esquimalt Wardroom members.

The MPNMR is still accepting donations for this year’s fundraiser with more information on how to participate available on their website

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