United Ride gives $43,000 to first responder organizations, United Way

It’s been 12 years since the CT United Ride started, but it’s still a thrill to see the thousands of motorcyclists and spectators, the fire departments and police departments come out and support the 60-mile ride, which passes through 11 towns, according to Trumbull resident and ride Executive Director Fred Garrity Jr.

“We have about 100 fire apparatus out in the street and people in their lawns waving flags,” Garrity said of the race. “You can’t describe it, it has to be felt and witnessed.”

Garrity, who was recently re-elected to the Trumbull Planning and Zoning Commission, also organized the first Green Ribbon Ride this year, to honor Sandy Hook School shooting victims.

When the CT United Ride began, just two weeks after 9/11, proceeds went to support New York City firefighters, police and the United Way. Since then, the race proceeds still go to similar causes within Connecticut. On Tuesday night, Garrity distributed 13 checks totaling $43,000 to organizations at a dinner at Vazzy’s in Bridgeport.

The largest checks, totaling $12,150, went to the Uniformed Professional Firefighters Emergency Relief Fund and The 100 Club of Connecticut, which supports law enforcement. About $7,500 was also given to The United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and both the Bridgeport Fallen Police and Firefighters funds were given $3,000. The other beneficiaries were Police Explorers in seven towns, including Trumbull, and Wilton Community Emergency Response Team members. The Explorers and Wilton CERT volunteer at the race each year.

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti stopped by to thank emergency responders and race organizers.

“We are a nation that cares and gives back during times of tragedy, and this ride demonstrates that in this little corner of the earth,” Lauretti said.

Lauretti touted the work of Garrity and the emergency responders supported through the event.

“I’m happy to play a small part in an event like this,” he said.

Garrity thanked fellow organizers for ensuring the ride is handled well and that every penny raised goes to a good cause. Garrity said that when it comes to the ride, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

“How cool is it we get to do this every year and repeat something like this,” Garrity said.

To learn more about the race, visit ctunitedride.com.