First Annual Blessing of the Bikes, Special Olympics Ride held in Jay

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The first Annual Blessing of the Bikes and Special Olympics Ride were held Saturday afternoon. Seminary student Matthew Valles is seen giving a short prayer prior to the blessing of the bikes. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

By Pam Harnden, Staff Writer

JAY — Local bikers are doing good things for their community. This was showcased on Saturday when the 1st Annual Blessing of the Bikes and Special Olympics Ride was held.

Between 25 and 30 bikes were parked in the lot in back of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church Saturday afternoon.

Dave Merrill of Kingfield said, “After the bikes are blessed, I’ll be leading the ride.”

The bikers planned to ride through Harrison, Rumford, Peru and Canton. They would end at Lane-Dube AMVETS Post 33 on Route 4 where a barbecue, raffle, auction and dance were scheduled later that day.

“I hope the rain holds off,” Merrill said.

Matthew Valles, a seminary student at St. John’s in Brighton, Massachusetts, said he was filling in for Father Paul Dumais who was performing a wedding. Valles gave a short prayer, then sprinkled holy water on each bike as it left for the ride.

The first Annual Blessing of the Bikes and Special Olympics Ride were held Saturday afternoon. Seminary student Matthew Valles is seen giving a short prayer prior to the blessing of the bikes. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

At the AMVETS hall, Patrick Duffy of Livermore Falls said he suggested the event to the United Bikers of Maine before they dissolved.

The event was held for the first time last year.

“It’s good to still do things for the community. I like to jump in to these events when I can,” Duffy said.

More than 100 items were donated for the silent auction. Two box seat tickets to a July 14 Red Sox game would be auctioned live.

After the barbecue The Veggies, a local band, were scheduled to play for the dance from 7-11 p.m.

“Tim Fournier is friendly with them. They played last year, at a couple other things we’ve done,” Duffy said.

He said the bikers have remained a group of friends. They call themselves REASON (Ride Exclusively About Supporting Our Neighbors).

“The AMVETS offer us a meeting place. We help them raise money for causes. Special Olympics is our main focus. The church receives funds too,” Duffy said.

Anyone can join the group.

“It’s an incentive to come for a ride. We welcome anyone who wants to ride,” Duffy said.

Sue Fournier said the Red Sox tickets will be a big seller. She received $500 from vendors for the meal and auction items.

“All proceeds go to Special Olympics,” she said.

For more information call Tim Fournier, 576-5022.

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net

Dave Merrill of Kingfield leads the procession of bikes through the Blessing of the Bikes at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Jay. Each bike participating in the Special Olympics Ride was blessed with holy water by seminary student Matthew Valles. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)
Seminary student Matthew Valles sprinkles a bike with holy water. Some 25-30 bikes were blessed at the start of the Special Olympics Ride sponsored by REASON (Ride Exclusively About Supporting Our Neighbors).
Patrick Duffy and Sue Fournier hold items that were raffled off Saturday evening to support Special Olympics. The auction was part of the first Annual Blessing of the Bikes and Special Olympics Ride sponsored by REASON (Ride Exclusively About Supporting Our Neighbors). (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)