The Ride to Remember is a special fundraising event for the Tony Stacey Centre and is organized by Canadian Army Veterans, CAV, Normandy Unit. For Stacey resident Giuseppe Florio,96, it brought back memories of riding a motorcycle during the war.
By Denise Bacon
The rumble was heard like a low roar of thunder, and everyone, like performers in an orchestra, suddenly came to attention in anticipation of the show! This was the grand entrance into the Tony Stacey Centre of about 50 motorcycles, all part of the 13th Annual Ride to Remember on September 7.
This special fundraising event for the Stacey Centre is organized by Canadian Army Veterans, CAV, Normandy Unit. CAV is an active Veteran-based riding club organization whose motto is “Riding, Having Fun and Helping Others.”
About 50 riders, women and men, on various types of beautiful motorcycles, decked in leathers and sporting CAV Normandy Unit decals, mingled with the many residents who came outside to join the festivities at this annual highlight event for them. Giuseppe Florio, 96, has lived at the Centre for the last six years. He fought for the Allies in WWll at the Palermo Army Base, Italy. Giuseppe rode a Guzzi motorcycle with a sidecar during the war, transporting his lieutenant and supplies back and forth to the base. His face shone as the bikes thundered down the driveway and he was in his element to be among the motorcycles and riders that day.
Sophie Kypreos, resident and vice-president of the Residents Council, and a few other residents were the judges of the “Show & Shine” award given to the best-looking bike. Gabby Koch, CAV lead on Tony Stacey Centre, happily guided residents and wheelchairs around the bikes as the judges made their notes and their big decision on the winner.
Pauline Gage, one of the CAV riders, took the time to speak with residents. “Dad was in WWll,” she said. The Ride to Remember “is a good cause to support veterans and their families. It is very close to my heart.”
Derrick “Maddawg” McClinchey, National President of CAV, and other CAV executives were part of the motorcycle entourage, showing the incredible support of this national organization for the Stacey Centre.
Diana LeBlanc, who is in charge of Development and Public Relations at the Stacey Centre, effused about CAV and their efforts. More than $100,000 has been raised for the Centre over the years. CAV also holds golf tournaments and gives the Centre gifts like much-needed paint and outdoor picnic tables.
The funds raised this year will be applied to capital projects. Diana said that overall donations are on the decline with many worthy causes tugging at the public’s generosity. “I really like the connection between the CAV community and TSC. The residents’ faces radiate joy as the bikes rumble in!”
Residents, families, staff, board members and CAV riders came together for a wonderful day, making memories and supporting the Stacey Centre.
The not-for-profit Tony Stacey Centre, named for the World War II Sergeant who along with other veterans fought tirelessly to found it, is located here in Centennial. The Centre accepts veterans from across Canada and it is distinguished by the fact that it is the only veterans’ long-term care facility that accepts non-serving spouses of veterans, overseas veterans, veterans of conflicts post Korea and peacekeepers along with community members.