Motorcycle Riders Raise $40K In Gifford’s ‘Last Mile Ride’

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Front Page / Aug. 26, 2010 2:16pm EDT


Art Peper, 92, of Randolph was winner of the Harley motorcycle at Gifford Hospital's Last Mile Ride. Peper is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast. (Herald / Tim Calabro)Art Peper, 92, of Randolph was winner of the Harley motorcycle at Gifford Hospital's Last Mile Ride. Peper is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

Saturday’s Last Mile Ride—Gifford Medical Center’s annual charity motorcycle ride—attracted more than 180 riders and raised approximately $40,000 for end-of-life care at the nonprofit Randolph medical center.

Started in 2006 by Gifford nurse and motorcyclist Lynda McDermott of Randolph, the ride has grown significantly in the five years since in both the number of riders it attracts and the money it raises.

This year’s ride took motorcyclists through about 100 miles of central Vermont countryside through Randolph, Northfield, Montpelier, Middlesex, the Mad River Valley, Rochester, Bethel and more. Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak led the ride and combat veterans provided “road guard” services.

The ride ended at the hospital with a chicken and rib barbecue and live music from “Two for the Show and Company.” Riders were also given free massages and awarded prizes. Riders who raised the most money for the cause received gifts from area motorcycle dealers.

Topping the list of riders who raised the most were Tim and Patty Schroeder, who raised $1847; Linda Chugkowski and Robert Martin, who raised $1810; and Reg and Rose Mongeur, who collected more than $1300.

Reg Mongeur, a combat veteran, also served as a road guard and rode in memory of his late mother, Caroline Mongeur, who died in Gifford’s Garden Room in May.

The Garden Room is a garden-side suite for dying patients and their families. The ride supports free services for those patients as well as for other patients in advanced illness, family bereavement services and special training for Gifford’s staff.

“The staff at Gifford and the Garden Room … they made the transition between life and death a lot smoother. Everybody involved from the Gifford side of it, it was like it was their family (member) too,” says Reg Mongeur of how his mother was treated.

Peper Wins Harley

This year’s ride also included the raffle of a Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 Low from Wilkins Harley-Davidson in Barre. Art Peper, a 92-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran and former prisoner of war, won the motorcycle.

Ride organizer Ashley Lincoln called Peper with the news immediately after the ticket was drawn.

“I didn’t believe it,” said Peper, who had collected antique Indian and Harley motorcycles before selling them a few years ago.

Schroeder sold Peper the winning ticket, telling him, “This is the lucky ticket,” Peper reported. “And it was!

Peper bought the ticket to support the ride, not expecting to win. He’s now not quite sure what he’ll do with his shiny new Harley, which Schroeder delivered on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s fun, but I don’t think I’ll ever ride it,” said the Randolph resident who has had visitors and plenty of phone calls—some from people he hasn’t talked to in years—since his big win.

“It made him very happy,” notes his wife, Rose.

Other Winners

Other winners included Thom Goodwin, a hospital employee from Corinth, who won a stunning quilt make by Gifford nurses. Ride volunteer and pediatrician Dr. Mitsu Chobanian was the winner of a 50/50 raffle.

The date for next year’s ride has already been set. It will be held Aug. 20, 2010. Visit the hospital’s Web site at www.giffordmed.org for updates on 2011 ride and photos from this year’s ride.

The Other Last Mile Ride

Motorcycles roared through the area on Saturday to raise money for end-of-life care at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph. But one rider had a much quieter start and finish.

Marci White, a Gifford nurse, wife and mother from Braintree, rode her pedal bicycle 37 miles to Northfield and back Saturday morning to support the cause.


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