Heroes will again be honored at the fourth annual Ride for Independence to benefit the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in Bloomfield, Connecticut on Sunday, July 20th. This family-friendly motorcycle fundraiser celebrates the freedom and independence that Fidelco Guide Dogs bring to men and women who are blind across North America, especially blinded military personnel.
The family-friendly event begins and ends at Fidelcos beautiful Bloomfield campus. Riders enjoy a scenic, police-escorted 50 mile route through the Farmington Valley and return to Fidelco for a gourmet barbeque lunch by Black Eyed Sallys, a live concert by the Southern rock band SHOVELHEAD and more. Non-riders are encouraged to attend to cheer on the riders and enjoy lunch, vendors, entertainment, on-site K-9 demonstrations and Fidelco puppy visits.
The 2014 Ride for Independence Grand Marshal is a blinded military hero and Fidelco client, Staff Sergeant Michael Malarsie, USAF (Ret). Malarsie was blinded in an IED attack while serving in Afghanistan in 2010. One year later, with his Fidelco Guide Dog Xxon leading the way, Michael returned to work as the only blind airman on active duty in the Air Force.
Fidelcos Field of Flags — a tribute featuring more than 500 American flags planted in honor of fallen military heroes, first responders, veterans and personal heroes — will be on display. For a $ 10 donation, a flag will be added to the Field of Flags on the day of the event or online at http://www.fidelco.org/honoryourheroes.
WHO: Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation, blinded military hero SSgt Michael Malarsie (interviews available) WHAT: 2014 Ride for Independence motorcycle event to benefit Fidelco WHEN: Sunday, July 20, 2014; Registration 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; ride leaves at noon, lunch served at 1:30; K-9 demos all day Day-of registration: $ 40/bike (includes passenger) Non-rider: $ 15 each (includes lunch) WHERE: Fidelco, 103 Vision Way (formerly Old Iron Ore Road), Bloomfield, CT 06002 WHY: To support Fidelcos mission of promoting increased freedom and independence to men and women who are blind, especially blinded military personnel, by providing them the highest quality German Shepherd Guide Dogs
ABOUT SSGT MALARSIE: On January 3, 2010, in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, then-Senior Airman Michael Malarsie was blinded and severely wounded by a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) that killed four team members and blew him off a bridge. Blinded and broken, Michael stayed in the fight loading ammunition for his comrades. He was later awarded the Bronze Star with Valor for heroism on the battlefield.
Exactly one year later, following months of determined rehabilitation and painful facial surgeries, Michael was partnered with his Fidelco Guide Dog Xxon. Michael returned to active duty status as the only blind airman serving in the United States Air Force, leading a Wounded Airman Recovering Mentorship Program to help other wounded veterans transition to civilian life.
About Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Bloomfield, CT. Fidelco is an internationally accredited organization and an admired expert throughout the world for its highly valued German Shepherd Guide Dogs.
Each Fidelco Guide Dog takes two years, 15,000 hands-on hours and $ 45,000 to produce. They are given to clients at no cost. Fidelco provides 24/7 client support for the entire working life of its guide dogs typically 10 years. Fidelco relies solely on the generosity and financial support of individuals, foundations, corporations and civic organizations to help Share the Vision.
Fidelco has trained and placed over 1,350 German Shepherd Guide Dogs throughout North America in 41 states and five Canadian provinces. Fidelco pioneered In-Community Placement in the United States a process that allows all guide dog users to be trained in the communities where they live and work.
Fidelco also has placed hundreds of its German Shepherd Dogs with law enforcement agencies, first responders, search and rescue, and missing child recovery organizations to help protect our fellow citizens and keep our communities safe.
For more information, please visit http://www.fidelco.org or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/fidelcoguidedog