By Lori Szepelak
CHICOPEE – Motorcycle riders are sought for the first Chicopee Amvets Chapter 12 PTSD/TBI Awareness Ride on May 3, according to committee chairman Jim Peacey.
Peacey, a retired veteran from both the U.S. Navy and the Air National Guard, is encouraging area bikers to consider joining the rain or shine event which starts with registration at 9:30 a.m. and kickstands up at 11 a.m. at the local post.
“This is the first year for a ride for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI,)” he said during an interview with Reminder Publications. “If all works well with it, it will be the first of many.”
The 50-mile ride will begin and end at the Amvets Chapter at 754 Montgomery Road. When bikers return to the chapter headquarters, live music, food and raffles will be featured.
Peacey noted that the Springfield Veteran Center will be on hand with its Mobile Vet Center along with personnel to explain services that are provided.
The cost to ride is $20 and all profits will benefit the Friends of the Veteran Center as well as Friends of Ward 8 for the Central Western Massachusetts Veterans Administration Center in Leeds.
“They will distribute the funds to the programs that deal with veteran issues including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury,” said Peacey. “The reason we picked this program is that we do a lot for our older vets and we felt there was a need to help our younger ones coming home and that this was a great way to do that.”
Peacey cited statistics that approximately 22 veterans a day are taking their own lives with a majority of them dealing with a form of PTSD.
“If we can do anything to help reduce that number, we will,” he added.
To join the ride, or for more information, Peacey asked individuals to visit its Facebook page at Amvets Chapter 12 PTSD/TBI Awareness Ride.
Peacey noted that 7 Bridges Road, an Eagles tribute band, will close out the entertainment that day.
Sponsors at press time include Trantolo and Trantolo LLC and the United Tractor Trailer Driving School.
Tickets will be available at the Amvets chapter starting in mid-March, according to Peacey.
“All factions of the Amvets will be volunteering that day, including the Ladies Auxiliary, the Sons of Amvets, and the Amvets Riders,” Peacey said, adding that committee members also include his wife Christine, Bryan Doe of the Springfield Veteran Center, Ken Riverin and his wife Michelle, and Riders president Phil Marcoux.