More than 100 people gathered outside of Veterans Park School today to show their support for Team26. Lead by Monte Frank, 26 area cyclists will ride 400 miles to Washington D.C. in support of common sense gun legislation. Biking with Team 26 as they journeyed from Sandy Hook to Ridgefield for today’s rally, were Congressman Jim Himes and a Newtown Police Officer who was one of the first responders on December 14, 2012.
Himes, who called the bikers his ‘twenty-six new friends,” said, “What these riders are doing is symbolic of the perseverance and strength of us all.”
In addition to Congressman Jim Himes, First Selectman Rudy Marconi, State Rep John Frey, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Bethel First Selectman, Matt Knickerbocker were in attendance.
Marconi opened the ceremony. “We all know why we are here,” he said. “Each and everyone of us needs to play a role in this. Tell your friends and talk about this. Getting legislation passed in Washington is a grassroots effort that begins with each of you,” he added.
“This event is about building compassionate communities,” said Mayor Boughton. “All of us are pitching in together so we can be one voice,” he added.
Frey spoke to the crowd as his nieces and nephew, who attend Sandy Hook Elementary, stood alongside him. “We all became residents of Newtown on that day.” “Schools need to be a sanctuary- a safe haven for our kids,” he added.
The 26 cyclists will meet up with the cycling team from Virginia Tech and they will join forces and head to Washington in solidarity.
“Let’s ride for each one of those kids for a safer and more peaceful nation,” said Monte Frank who then named each of the 26 who died in the Newtown tragedy.
Keep Team26 in your thoughts and prayers. They will be in New Jersey by days end and then continue on to Washington tomorrow. The cyclists are scheduled to arrive back town on Tuesday.
Photo shows Team26, Congressman Jim Himes in center with head down.
Photo 2 shows Deborah, Stephen and David Badger. Stephen (center) is on Team26. His wife is a school psychologist in Sherman and helped council Newtown students.