Giving Back

Retired Firefighter to Bike from N.Y. to D.C. for 9/11 Victims

a8fd50ee6f61825dacc0_DSC_0005__2_.JPG
Ken Carroll and his trusty bike pose in front of the 9/11 memorial at the Mahopac firehouse. Credits: Bob Dumas
a8fd50ee6f61825dacc0_DSC_0005__2_.JPG

MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Seventy-year-old Ken Carroll has been a cyclist for a long time. And whenever the retired New York City firefighter gets the chance, he likes to use his hobby to do some good. This year, to raise money and to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, he and some companions from FDNY will ride their bikes on a five-day journey from Long Island to the Pentagon in Washington D.C.
It marks the fifth year in a row that Carroll will participate in what is known as the FDNY 343 Ride.

“The main thing with the fire department is that we will never forget,” Carroll said. “These boys went into that building and they never came out. I lost a lot of friends, a lot of family. So we do this ride for them.” 

Carroll, a Mahopac resident, and his companions will hit the road on the morning of Sept. 7. Former FDNY members and Army veterans are scheduled to cycle from Montauk all the way down to the nation’s capital.

Sign Up for E-News

“This is a major undertaking,” said Carroll, a Vietnam veteran (1965-67) who can often be seen riding his bicycle on Route 6 in the morning. “It’s not like you’re just going to get here and bike a few miles. It is a major undertaking for guys to get physically fit and it is for a reason. You need that passion to do it. All the guys that I know have been in burning buildings. We know what it’s like, but we came out.” 

All 80 riders will stop and pull over when 343 miles are reached in what is known as the “Mile a Man” Ride. Every one of the 343 firefighters’ names that were killed in the World Trade Center will then be mentioned after a cross and American flag are raised. 

The ride will gather the bikers into one line as troopers ride their motorcycles on the left and right sides of the cyclists while they move through each township on main roads.

The group plans to find motels each night (already accommodated for), and resume at around 6 a.m. A crowd of disabled veterans and their families will be at the finish line waiting.

“There was a kid who I rode for in the very first one named John Curtin,” Carroll said. “He is in Brewster. We were all going to ride for a veteran. So I just happened to look at the Mahopac News, and who’s in the front is this kid with no legs. Blonde head, good-looking kid. I said, ‘I’m riding for that kid.’ He never knew me. I reached out to him and got permission from the family and the only time that I met him was when I got to Washington. And there he was in the wheelchair. I went up to him and said ‘John Curtin, I’m Ken Carroll and I just rode 343 miles for you.’”

The FDNY Ride has grown greatly since the inaugural event in 2011. The ride has raised over $400,000 since then. Jerseys have also been made for the event.
“There is more support,” Carroll said. “From the very first one to now, it’s quite a bit more.”

An American Legion Post 1080 and VFW Post 5491 member, Carroll sells raffle tickets to raise money for the event. Its sole cause is to aid veterans who have returned from duty. Personal donations are also made to fdny343ride.com.

“All of the money goes right to the disabled,” Carroll said. “The money doesn’t go anywhere. It’s not for this lawyer, it’s not for advertising. None of that. Someone comes back, and they get it right there. There is no gray area here.”

NYSC in Somers Commons, where Carroll teaches indoor cycling, has provided major support for the ride. Bikeway of Mahopac has also donated money and biking gear for the long trip. Sponsors like the Carriage House and Chophouse Grille have chipped in as well.

A 25-year FDNY firefighter, Carroll recalls his experience spending time with the injured Army veterans for whom he is riding.

“Once a year they have a dinner for those who supported these kids,” Carroll said. “The dinner is downtown and you see six of these kids in these wheelchairs with distorted faces or no vision. Arms are gone, scars, and they got a smile on their face.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Mahopac

What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Seen Any Good Ol’ Movies Lately?

As I become more, uh, mature, I find myself enjoying older movies more than newer movies. The trio of films presented here for your consideration are three of my all-time favorites. They share great stories, great screenplays, great directing, great acting. They also have in common ratings in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place of distinction in the National Film Registry, a highly selective ...

Privacy? LOL!

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about how Facebook fans are shocked—shocked!—that their privacy has been compromised, prompting them to rise up and exhort oppressed social media users everywhere to ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Tipping the Scales in My Favor

As I was settling into bed one night, I happened to catch my husband out of the corner of my eye.

He was getting on the scale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled at him. He jerked his head around and looked at me with alarm.

“What? I’m weighing myself.”

I jumped out of bed and yanked him off the scale. 

“You can’t do that now!” I ...

Doing Time in the Big House

“So, what did the doctor say about Dad?” I asked my mom over the phone.

“He has an incarcerated hernia,” she replied.

“INCARCERATED hernia?” I repeated.

“Yes.”

“Why is it incarcerated? Did it rob a bank?”

“What? No.”

“Unlawful entry? Obstruction? Insider trading?” I ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 9:00 AM

Yorktown Sports Complex, Yorktown Heights

Yorkville Sports Association (YSA) Draft Day

Giving Back Sports

Sun, April 22, 10:00 AM

Yorktown Sports Complex, Yorktown Heights

Yorkville Sports Association Preseason 50+ - 60+ ...

Giving Back Sports

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Houlihan Lawrence in Yorktown Welcomes Three New Team Members

April 10, 2018

Zef Camaj, brokerage manager, recently welcomed three salespersons to the team.

Marco Nogueras is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional who uses technologically advanced marketing techniques bringing the real estate experience to a new level. He values customer service and will ensure your goals are met while keeping you updated on current market conditions. Marco has spent the majority ...