Hey Free Wheelin’ Angel Riders!

By Rob Cassie

As we pedal towards another Memorial Day weekend spent with passionate and inspiring everyday folks, I am asking myself how I got involved with this great event.

cassie.jpgSimply, I am a proud volunteer because Lynn asked me. Lynn and I grew up in Old Saybrook and became good friends while trying to navigate those awkward adolescent years. It does not surprise me that the passion Lynn owned in her early years blossomed into a life changing, charitable endeavor.

Childhood cancer painfully touched my wife’s dear cousin back in the 80’s leaving a deep hole in many hearts. Into the ’90’s and ’00’s, as my beautiful wife and I were busy raising our two wonderful kids, we prayed daily, as all parents do, for their health and well being. When I first heard of Lynn and Fred’s early years of AngelSwim and AngelRide, it seemed like an honorable fund to send a check to, but always from afar. I hadn’t been moved, or asked, to help out so it was easy to simply appreciate what someone else was doing.

cassie2.jpgThen Lynn asked, “Could you help at a rest stop in Granby with some scouts?” Why not, seems easy enough and Lynn asked me for help! I now realize just how many people Lynn has asked to pitch in with whatever was needed as the ride grew. I am so thankful Lynn welcomed my wife, my kids, and me into the AngelRide family. I see so many wonderful volunteers, supporting the awesome riders, who are so happy they too were asked to lend a hand for a few hours on Memorial Day weekend.

From year one at rest stop two, to very early morning breakfast prep in Norfolk, to driving the big Food and Beverage trucks for 3 days of drop-offs and pick-ups across the route, the more rewarding this volunteer gig has become. I am proud to say both of our children have volunteered for AngelRide during their high school and college years.

As we all coast into the Mystic Y on a sunny, Sunday afternoon, I look forward to seeing the love and enthusiasm in the riders’ eyes and volunteers’ hearts. If we happen to catch each other’s eyes during the busy weekend and you say, “How ya’ doin’?”  you can be sure I will respond, “I’m doing fine, thanks for asking!”