Philanthropic might not be the first descriptor that comes to mind when you think of motorcycle groups, but in the case of a local faction of bikers–and many more across the country–perhaps it should be. Doug DiSarro and Lou Smith, the organizers of the upcoming benefit Ride for Knight, are hoping to raise a large amount of money on Saturday, September 7, for a veteran motorcycle club (MC), the Jarheads, who lost seven members of their community in a horrific accident in June.
The Jarheads group is a multi-chapter New England-based MC comprised of marines and their spouses. A group dedicated to supporting veterans and other causes, the Jarheads were on route to a fundraiser when they were involved in major accident that will forever be mourned in their community. “Our main reason for this benefit ride is to support the seven families of the New Hampshire tragedy whose lives drastically changed that day,” DiSarro explained. He went on to say, “Medical and funeral costs come very high and no one realizes that something like this can happen at any time to anyone. We decided to help out and who better to help than people who served our country and whose lives were taken away in doing what they loved to do, helping others.”
The Ride for Knight will take place on Saturday, September 7, taking riders in a loop that will begin and end in New Fairfield. The run will start at Icons restaurant, beginning with registration at 9:30am, leaving for the ride at 11:00am, and riding through more than a dozen towns in Connecticut, with stops along the way in New Milford and Middlebury. Their final stop will be at Biscotti’s restaurant in New Fairfield where there will be a party that the community is welcome to join at $25 per person. Event attendees will start with appetizers and then move on to a full barbecue, including a pig roast. Local musicians, The Bellas and Split Decision will be performing, both of whom are donating their time to the benefit. The organizers will also be holding a 50/50 raffle and various auction items to raise money for the Jarheads families. DiSarro and Smith greatly appreciated all local donations from restaurants, musicians, plus New Fairfield Press and Godfather Promotions, who donated the posters, flyers, and signs.
For DiSarro, Smith, and other local bikers, the Ride for Knight, now in its 10th year, holds a special place for them, as it serves as a memorial benefit for their friend, Kevin Knight, who died in a horrific motorcycle crash on Route 39 a decade ago this September. “Kevin was a hardworking guy who also liked to have fun,” DiSarro remembered. “He was the type of guy who would help all his friends at any time or even help people he didn’t know. He was a good father and brother.” A benefit that shifts causes based on people in need, the Knight Ride is held yearly. On choosing the Jarheads as the recipients of the ride, DiSarro said, “Doing this ride will not only keep Kevin’s memory alive, but also raise awareness to support our veterans.”
Scott Haines, owner of Biscotti’s, said that the restaurant is “honored to be a part of this beautiful event. 10 years later, every year since we lost our brother, Kevin Knight, his friends and family gather together to raise love, hope, and money for a meaningful cause.”
In addition to the Ride for Knight, the local group of bikers also organizes three other benefit rides: the Breakout Run for SSGT. T.J. Lobraico to fund the scholarship in his name at Western Connecticut State University; the Breast Cancer Ride to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation; and a ride for Ann’s Place, a free-of-charge cancer support service for patients and families, in Danbury.
So, if you see a large group of motorcycles all riding together, still think ‘wow,’ but instead of just being impressed by their numbers, think it because the chances are very high that they are in the middle of raising money for a benefit or charity. DiSarro explained that “most bikers are very generous and spend a good amount of money on these rides.” In fact, the local group of motorcyclists usually participates in benefit rides at least once a month.
Head to Biscotti’s on Saturday, Sept. 7, 5:00pm, for a fantastic meal, great entertainment, and remarkably generous, welcoming company. If you aren’t able to make it to Biscotti’s and want to give to the Jarheads MC, mail your tax-deductible donations payable to: Jarheads MC, P.O. Box 362, Marlborough, MA, 01752.
By Sarah Opdahl