A pack of cyclists riding for children and families’ physical and mental health made a stop in Grand Forks as part of the annual Cops for Kids event.
The 24-cyclist group, made up of law enforcement officials from across southeastern B.C., pulled into the Grand Forks RCMP detachment Saturday evening as part of their campaign and to take a rest break before continuing to the Paulson Summit.
While there, they were greeted by fellow officers and city officials, as well as children and families that benefited from Cops for Kids.
“What they do is nothing short of amazing,” said Grand Forks detachment Commander Sgt. Darryl Peppler. “On top of their regular jobs during the summer, which is amplified by the wildfires, then fundraise and train and they all have families.”
The Grand Forks stop was Day Two of their 10-day journey, which is taking the team into the Kootenays as far east as Cranbrook, before returning through Kamloops, to Vernon, finishing in Kelowna on Sunday.
The first four days are often the toughest and the biggest test for riders’ abilities, said Kelowna RCMP detachment member Cpl. Ryan Danilowich. This is his third year riding in the event.
They are dealing with tough mountain passes while logging around 120 kilometres a day. They had already endured the Anarchist Mountain pass and on Sunday were facing the Paulson Pass.
“It was a slog this day, but it was great to get here and we have a lot of good people in the community along the way that look out for us and give us great meals,” he said. “It’s great to see the community giving us support.”
His motivation for riding is the help Cops for Kids gave his family after he and his wife had triplets. The foundation offered support for their family, so riding in this event is his way to give back.
“This is also a way for communities to see officers out in the community beyond their roles and a reminder they have family and neighbours in their communities,” said Cpl. Tania Finn, communications officer out of the RCMP Vernon detachment. Cops for Kids was formed in 2001 as a way for officers to be able to give back to the communities they are serving.
They came up with fundraising to go on a 1,000-kilometre bike tour and formed a team made up of officers from across the southeast of the province.
“The beautiful thing about this ride is they get to see as they go through these communities is they get to see the kids that we’ve helped because all the money we raised in the southeast district stays in the southeast district,” she said.
The ride is a culmination of each riders’ year-long efforts volunteering at community events, training on their own time, and fundraising a minimum of $2,500 each to be a part of the riding team.
Since 2001, Cops for Kids have raised over $6.1 million in support of local children in medical, physical, or traumatic crisis, stated a news release. The public can follow their progress and make donations by visiting the website at www.copsforkids.org or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.