Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer, Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez, Councilwoman and event organizer Jackie Gordon and the rest of the Town Board welcomed over 1,400 riders to Town Hall for the 2018 Soldier Ride. The event, a 25-mile bicycle ride that begins at Town Hall in Lindenhurst and ends at Overlook Beach, has raised around one million dollars for the Wounded Warrior Project in 11 years. Other notable elected officials were in attendance, including Congressman Peter King, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini, Suffolk County Sherriff Errol Toulon, several New York State Senators, Assemblypersons and local village officials. Wounded Warrior Project CEO Michael Linnington was also in attendance and spoke at the morning ceremony.
“Councilwoman Gordon and our staff continue to raise the bar for this event every year,” said Supervisor Schaffer. “Participation keeps getting bigger and bigger, which speaks volumes about how great this event is. Thank you to the Wounded Warrior Project for being great partners and the work that they do,” he added.
Joe McDonnell, a building inspector with the Town, is a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He, along with the help of his department, raised over $6,000 for the event before riding with his fellow Warriors.
“The amount of money raised by Joe McDonnell is a testament of how much respect the people within the Town of Babylon have for our Veterans,” said Councilwoman Gordon. “In the 11 years since we have had this event, we’ve raised over a million dollars that have gone to helping Veterans who have made enormous sacrifices. As a fellow Veteran, I’m honored to organize this event each year,” she added.
Over 50 Wounded Warriors led the pack of bicyclists out of Town Hall after a flyover by a Suffolk County Police Department helicopter. Residents lined the course from Sunrise Highway to the entrance of Overlook Beach, where a barbeque hosted by local emergency response departments and sponsors welcomed the riders.