After a long day of cycling 61 miles on Tuesday, Aug. 24, the 40 riders part of the 2021 Brotherhood Ride arrived at the Ormond Beach Elks Lodge 2193 to rest for the night.
Inside, showers and dinner awaited the cyclists and their 20 support staff after their fourth day of riding. And the group still has over two weeks left before they arrive at their final destination: The 9/11 memorial in New York City.
The Brotherhood Ride is typically held annually to remember first responders who have died in the line of duty. It was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, but 2021 marks a significant milestone — the 20th anniversary of 9/11. As such, the Brotherhood Ride cyclists are also riding for those fallen first responders. They departed Naples on Aug. 21, and plan to arrive in New York City on Sept. 11.
As the cyclists, some of them sporting firefighter helmets, approached the lodge, Elks and community members waved flags and welcomed them to Ormond Beach.
“To pick us was an honor," Elks Lodge Exalted Ruler Maria DeArmon said.
In light of the recent death of Daytona Beach Police Officer Jason Raynor, DeArmon said the presence of the cyclers was made more special. The lodge received donations from local businesses for the cause, including Babe's Blue Room, VITAS Healthcare, Mario's Restaurant, Troy's Pub and Dunkin' Donuts.
“They’re doing a very good cause so we want to support them as they support us," DeArmon said.
Rider Jeff Morse, of North Collier Fire Rescue, said everyone is in good spirits and that the Elks always take good care of them. This year, they are specifically honoring 26 Florida first responders who died in the line of duty.
“This is just a way to show those families, even though we didn’t know their loved ones, that we will be here to honor them," Morse said. "Every time a family knows their hero is remembered, it makes them feel great.”