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Castlegar welcomes Cops for Kids riders

Cops for Kids riders gather in Castlegar, escorted into town by Fire Chief Sam Lattanzio and our huge ladder truck.

The Cops for Kids contingent (including Castlegar’s own Const. Ron George, as well as four people riding out of Nelson – two sheriffs, one constable and one administrative staff member) wound up Day Three of their 10-day, 1,000-km ride at the Castlegar Safeway Sunday afternoon, at the triumphant and tired end to another day of this stunning endeavour to help kids in our region.

This is George’s fourth year participating in the grueling ride, which he said is made absolutely worthwhile by the stops in many communities across South East District, where they get to meet the families and children Cops for Kids helps.

“It may hurt sometimes, pedaling up the Paulson and hills like it – but that pales in comparison to what these families have had to, or are, going through,” he said. “And yet, there they are, smiling and happy. It is super gratifying and inspiring to meet and interact with them.”

In all, 34 cyclists and a seven-person support crew from RCMP and supporting enforcement agencies within South East District are participating in the annual Cops for Kids Ride, presented by the Kelowna Foundation for Hope and Social Innovation. After departing Kelowna, the team made their way south along highway 97 for the first of 10 days to raise awareness and essential funds for children in medical, physical or traumatic crisis.  

“Our route covers a vast and mountainous corner of the province with unrelenting hills and inclement weather at times, but these riders know that on the other side of each mountain is a family who has benefitted from our fundraising efforts,” says Ride Captain Retired Staff Sgt. Major Julio Krenz. “Our riders join the RCMP to help people and make a difference in their communities. On a day to day basis, officers are often faced with some of the harshest realities in this line of work, while also dealing with common policing shortfalls such as staffing shortages that can leave them tired and burnt out. For them, experiencing the gratitude from families who are helped by their efforts is often one of the highlights of their careers, and reminds them of why they joined our national police force.”

The 2019 Ride will take the team over 1,000 km across the South Eastern corner of British Columbia over 10 days stopping in 26 communities. Since inception, they’ve raised over $5.5 million through their signature event.  With requests from families on the rise, they’re working even harder to support the local children who need it most.  Funds from the event support requests for medical equipment, transportation to Children’s Hospital, specialized therapies, learning and mobility aids.

“With our need continuing to grow, we are working harder than ever to ensure that we’ve got funding available for local children in their time of crisis,” says Cops for Kids President Grant Fletcher. “We’ve already had 175 requests this year from families in our region so we are asking the communities we serve to help us help the local children.”

Daily updates will appear on the team blog during the ride. To follow the team along their journey or to make a donation please visit the website at www.copsforkids.org or follow along on Facebook and Instagram.