9/11 Brotherhood Ride comes to Salisbury
By Nathan Hardin
Next stop: Salisbury.
More than 50 bicyclists and staffers will pedal down South Main Street Wednesday afternoon as the 9/11 Brotherhood Ride travels the East Coast, honoring fallen firefighters and culminating in New York City on Sept. 10.
The bicyclists will travel through China Grove and stop at Salisbury Fire Station No. 2 just before 4 p.m. Jim Jones, advance coordinator for the ride, said the group of 55 will then travel to the Salisbury Firemen’s Memorial, which was rededicated Sept. 11, 2002, one year after 2001 terror attacks.
Jones said the brotherhood ride began in 2008 after the death of nine firefighters in Charleston, S.C. Since then, the ride has begun incorporating other towns.
This will be their first trip to Salisbury, and will commemorate the deaths of Salisbury firefighters Justin Monroe and Vic Isler, who were killed in 2008 fighting a fire.
“We’re going to recognize those two firefighters at the Salisbury memorial,” Jones said.
Salisbury Fire Chief Bob Parnell and Police Chief Rory Collins will be at the event and will lead the bikers from Station No. 2 to the memorial.
Jones said the bikers take away a lot from each town’s memorial.
“They offer just as much to us as we have to them,” he said.
The bikers are traveling 1,600 miles in 22 days and will stay the night in Salisbury at the Elks Lodge.
According to Ray Paradowski, a lodge member, the Elks will provide a place to stay for bikers as well as breakfast on Sept. 1. The bikers are expected to leave about 8 a.m. Thursday.
“All they’ve asked for is a place to lay their sleeping bags down,” Paradowski said.
Out of the 22 nights on the road, bikers will spend 18 of them in Elks lodges, Jones said. The brotherhood is made up of bikers from Texas to Massachusetts.
“All of them are on their own time, their own money,” Jones said.
Bikers were required to pay $400 to ride, Jones said. Since 2008, the brotherhood ride has provided $68,000 in financial support to firefighters’ families.
This year’s brotherhood ride will end in New York City to honor the 411 emergency workers who died on Sept. 11, 2001.