An annual cycling trip down Island in support of military veterans and community groups who help them, has an additional northern leg this year which will see riders come through Campbell River on Friday.
Boomer’s Legacy was founded in honour of Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, a Canadian military medic who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2006. Since its formation, over $1 million has been raised to help soldiers help others by buying food, medical supplies and other essentials for those affected by conflict around the world.
The organization also supports soldiers in their community efforts here at home. Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs, Rainbow Kitchen in Esquimalt, the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society, and the Comox Valley Family Services Association are among the various organizations that have received funding from Boomer’s Legacy in past years.
The official ride begins each year at 19 Wing Comox and heads to Boomer’s memorial in Victoria, but this year, another leg has been created, which will see riders travel from Port Hardy to 19 Wing Comox and meet up with the official ride before it leaves on Saturday in celebration of it being the last year the ride will span the Island. Next year, the event is scheduled to take place in the Comox Valley itself.
Campbell River’s Arlene Halwa is one of the riders who will be doing the entire stretch this year – from Port Hardy to Victoria. She says she’s been involved since the beginning of the ride, so that Boomer’s death makes a positive difference in the world.
“It’s beautiful to see what has come out of a tragic situation and support those who give us a free country to live in,” Halwa says. “We cycle to make things happen.”
Each rider rides with a photo and biography of a fallen Canadian soldier on their bike’s crossbar, to remind them who they’re doing it for whenever they look down, Halwa says. Not that they need reminding. They’re riding to a ceremony in Victoria that honours Canadian Armed Forces Members who have fallen, after all.
To donate to the cause, visit boomerslegacybc.ca or stop by Spirit Square on Friday at noon, where the riders doing the northern leg of the ride will be hosting a community barbeque by donation.