CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — A 70-year-old firefighter from New Hampshire is taking on a challenge to honor and support first responders and veterans.
Jerry Lachance is riding his bicycle from Miami to the Canadian border to raise money for the needs of those who protect others.
He started in Miami on April 9. He’s headed for Pittsburgh, New Hampshire and has already logged a lot of miles.
“I’ve got about 1,250 right now,” LaChance said. “And it’s going to be 2,850 when I get done, and that will be in Canada, right at the Canadian border.”
Lachance is an Army veteran and served in Vietnam.
“I saw a man with one leg riding a bike with me,” LaChance said. “And it was amazing, he made it to the top of the hill before I did. I could not pass him, and in one word, he pissed me off!”
The man was given a specialty bike by Project Hero, a non-profit organization that sponsors bike rides all over the country to raise money to help wounded warriors and first responders recover from catastrophic injuries.
“And they used it to build bikes, prosthetics for the guys for arms and legs, and mental health care, so they can put them back on their feet,” LaChance said. “Not just give them a bicycle and say here, go, but to teach them how to use that and get back into society.”
Lachance is making pit stops at firehouses along the way. He hopes to raise $25,000 by the time he makes it to the Canadian border on May 19.
“I only have 10 states left to go, so life is easy,” he said.
Lachance did this ride last year from Canada down to Florida. He had hoped to raise $5,000 and ended up raising $25,000.
His goal this year is to at least match what he raised last year and hopefully raise more.