Four officers from the Penticton detachment are among the 34 cyclists from the RCMP and supporting agencies that will set out Friday for a 1,000-kilometre charity tour through the region.
The annual Cops for Kids Ride benefits local families in need.
“Part of the ride is getting the opportunity to connect with the families that we’ve helped with funding,” says Penticton RCMP Const. Andrew Deane.
“Cops for Kids is able to provide that funding for families in their time of crisis and release some of the financial burden from families so they can be focusing on their child. When we arrive into a community and meet the children who benefit from our efforts it makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
The other local riders are Sgt. Carmen Penney, Const. Liz Vant Erve and Dean Marchand.
Each rider must provide their own bike, train on their own time, volunteer at community events, and fundraise a minimum of $2,500 in order to participate.
Over the course of six days, the ride will visit Summerland, Penticton, Oliver and Osoyoos in the South Okanagan, before heading to the Kootenays and travelling as far east as Yahk. The full ride, past versions of which have raised $5.5 million, will span 10 days and hit 26 communities.
“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 Julio Krenz, a retired Mountie.
“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 ride’s stop in Penticton is planned for Friday at 3:30 p.m. at Valley First at Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. The public is welcome to stop by for a visit.