Arts & Entertainment

Nutley’s Annual Holy Roller Run Raises Funds for Suicide Awareness

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Nutley Police officer Joe O’Halloran has his bike blessed by the Rev. Pam Bakal of Grace Episcopal Church in Nutley during the annual Motorcycle Blessing and Holy Roller Run. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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Motorcyclists gather on the lawn for the short service led by the Rev. Pam Bakal on Sunday, April 29. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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Iron Knights of Newark Pres. George Lodato speaks about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during the annual Motorcycle Blessing and Holy Roller Run at Grace Episcopal Church in Nutley Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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The Rev. Pam Bakal and the Iron Knights of Newark gather holding the “#Stop Suicide” signs to show support for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention organization. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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The Rev. Audrey Hasselbrook blesses The Rev. Pam Bakal and her husband Iron Knight Stewart Bakal and their motorcycle. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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Motorcyclists take off for their annual 60 miles ride. Their path was from route 21 to route 78 to route 287 which wrapped around to route 21 back to the church. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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The Rev. Audrey Hasselbrook of Grace Church leads the Memorial Walk from the church through Memorial Park I aka the Mud Hole. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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Participants in the Memorial Walk cross over the bridge at Memorial Park I aka the Mud Hole. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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Leathernecks Nation Dirty Jersey chapter Motorcycle Club stands behind the sign “#Be the Voice” to show support for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention organization. Credits: Deborah Ann Tripoldi / Photographer
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NUTLEY, NJ - Sounds of motorcycle engines filled the air as bike by bike filled Highfield Lane Sunday, April 29 during the annual Motorcycle Blessing and Holy Roller Run at Grace Episcopal Church in Nutley. About 125 motorcyclists, a total of 150 participants, from all over New Jersey gathered on the church’s front lawn for the annual service and fundraiser. Clergy from various Episcopalian churches were also present for the event.

The annual event raised $4,200 for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Donations were also collected on the website through afsp.org.

Organizer Christine Henriquez of the group Finding Dori lost her husband to suicide and reached out to the Iron Knights of Newark President George Lodato asking if he could do a fundraiser to promote awareness for them. In the past the Iron Knights held this annual run for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newark.

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Lodato said, “It is something we could do to help.  Although Habitat for Humanity is a great organization, this needed us a little bit more. It’s an honor to do this. People don’t know how much motorcyclists contribute to these awarenesses [sic] and fundraisers.”

Be the Voice organizer Melanie Ciappi was handing out flyers about suicide awareness explaining what to do to help those in need. “Preventing the stigma of mental health with a group of guys on motorcycles says something,” she said.

Paula Field of the AFSP said, “Talking saves lives and mental health training. To bring programs to survivors and outreach programs to those who had a recent loss.”

Ciappi said, “We don’t blame someone who has diabetes, yet we tell someone with depression to just snap out of it. …It’s time we change the conversation.”

The band Full Throttle performed some new and classic songs entertaining the crowd. Nutley Police Department assisted with the run.  Also present was Nutley Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad.

The short service began with the Rev. Pam Bakal of Grace Church. Bakal said, “We come together to give thanks of the joy motorcycles bring, to change a custom to those who suffer from mental illness to break the stigma.”

The Rev. Karen Rezach gave the motorcycle blessing, […]May your tires not fail you, nor your engine grow old, may your bike draw life from the streams it passes...,” she said.

Road captain Iron Knight Joe “3 Card” Monte detailed the route to the participants. Each year the route changes some. This year the bikers rode 60 miles from route 21 to route 78 to route 287 and wrapping around to route 21 back to the church.

After the motorcycles took off the Rev. Audrey Hasselbrook led the Memorial Walk from the church through Memorial Park and past Town Hall and the Public Safety building. About a dozen participants took part in the walk.

The fundraiser wrapped up with a barbecue consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ham. All the food was donated by Nutley Park ShopRite. The beverages and gift raffles were also donated by many local businesses.

The Iron Knights of Newark will be holding their annual Christmas in July Toy Drive on July 14, for more information Iron Knights is located on Facebook.

 

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