By David Tanguay
Special to The Windham Eagle
For the third year in a row, American Legion Field-Allen Post 148 member and one of South Portland’s finest in blue and local Windham resident Brian McCarthy, will be biking more than 350 miles as a participants in the Guardian Ride III fundraiser in support of his former military police unit based in Waterville.
McCarthy said he has specific reasons for participating in the Guardian Ride III again this year.
“For the third year in a row, I’m taking to the main streets and back roads of Maine on my mountain bike to raise funds for the Family Readiness Group of the Maine Army National Guard’s 488th Military Police Company, the unit I retired from in 2017,” McCarthy said. “Every penny of funds raised will go directly to the 488th Family Readiness Group.”
According to McCarthy, money raised through the Guardian Ride III will be used for back-to-school supplies, a summer cookout for unit families and single soldiers alike with water sports and camping, a catered unit Christmas party with a visit from Santa, emergency relief funds for families in need, and for keeping unit families in touch with their soldiers stationed overseas.
“In years past, this endeavor has seen me criss-cross our state in week-long treks,” he said. “In 2018, I biked from Houlton to South Portland and in 2019, I biked from Van Buren to South Portland.”
This year will be a bit different for McCarthy though. He had spinal surgery in July and lost over six weeks of training time, which will prevent him from completing the 350 miles in a single week.
“However, for 2020, the Guardian Ride will be completed in installments with seven 50-plus mile rides around southern and central Maine throughout the fall,” he said.
In 2018 they raised more than $2,000 and last year more than $4,200 was raised.
“Wouldn’t it be great in 2020 to raise enough to push us over the $10,000 mark in just three short years,” McCarthy said. “Please consider donating today to help Maine military families. Again, every penny of your donation goes right to the 488th MP FRG. Thank you.”
McCarthy, who retired as a Sergeant First Class from the Army, rode in the first 50-mile leg of the Guardian Ride III on Friday, Sept. 11, which was chosen as a special day to ride and reflect on the meaning of America.
McCarthy started his ride in the Walmart Parking lot in North Windham and spent a moment of silence at 8:45 a.m. to recall those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 in terrorist attacks on America.
He then rode through Standish, Sebago, Naples, Casco, Raymond and back to Windham to complete his fist 50 miles of the 350-mile Guardian Ride III.
For those interested in following McCarthy, his treks will be posted on Facebook at The Guardian Ride. Contributions can be made as well at a GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/guardian-ride-2020. <