Ninety cyclists arrived in Parksville on Saturday, June 10 as part of the Boomer’s Legacy ride, that goes from Comox Valley to Victoria in a two-day fundraising event. — Adam Kveton

Boomer’s Legacy riders arrive in Parksville

Riders greeted with sandwiches at Thrifty Foods, music from QB Pipe Band

What ended up being a group of 90 cyclists pedalled their way into Parksville on Saturday, June 10 for the 10th and final two-day Boomer’s Legacy ride.

The event is held in honour of Cpl. Andrew “Boomer” Eykelenboom, who died while serving as a medic in Afghanistan in 2006. Boomer’s Legacy was started by his mother, Maureen, to raise funds so that Canadian soldiers can help others while abroad or at home.

Thrifty Foods in Parksville hosted the cyclists for lunch, while the Qualicum Beach Pipe Band welcomed them with music.

Cyclists of various abilities were part of the ride, which goes from Comox Valley to Victoria, starting June 10 and ending June 11.

Maureen Eykelenboon was one of the participants.

She said that while this will be the last time this ride will take place, Boomer’s Legacy is more than just the ride.

There will remain a cycling portion to the organization’s yearly fundraiser in 2018, she said, though what that will look like has not yet been decided.

Asked how she feels about the impact Boomer’s Legacy has had, Eykelenboon said it’s about soldiers being able to put smiles on faces.

She said she recalls her son telling her before his tour of duty in Afghanistan that “putting a smile on a child’s face is the most important part of this tour.”

She responded by asking that, as a medic, wasn’t he most concerned with re-attaching limbs and saving lives? He said that’s his job, but those smiles are his joy, she said.

So whether it’s providing food for a family in need, getting kids off the street and into an orphanage, or supporting soldiers and their families in Canada, she said Boomer’s Legacy is about getting those smiles.

“When you give to others, you get back,” she said.

Recently, money raised through Boomer’s Legacy has been used to give hydrotherapy treatment to Ukrainian children, to purchase a prosthetic limb for a Ukrainian veteran and to benefit an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.