Boomer’s Ride is coming to town

Fund allows forces members to give help where it’s needed most

Boomer’s Legacy riders will be stopping in Qualicum Beach on Friday.

The wheels on the bikes will be going round and round in memory of a fallen soldier this month as Boomer’s Legacy Ride once again takes to the highway.

The annual fundraiser is held to raise funds for soldiers serving in foreign lands to give on-the-ground assistance to residents in the country where they’re operating — as well as back at home.

The sixth-annual ride kicks off from Canadian Forces Base Comox on Friday, June 14 and will continue through two days to the legislative grounds in Victoria.

More than 100 cyclists are expected to take part, including some from the Parksville Qualicum region.

One of those is Maria Yerema, who is taking to her bike for the third time.

“We will be coming through Parksville Qualicum on Friday and having lunch on the beach in Qualicum Beach,” she said. “It’s quite an impressive sight, with 100 riders in matching jerseys.”

The ride commemorates Cpl. Andrew Eykelenboom, a Canadian Forces medical technician known to his comrades as Boomer, who perished on August 9, 2006 in Afghanistan, one day before he was set to fly home to Comox.

In commemoration of his off-duty activities in Afghanistan, the Ride for Boomer’s Legacy was created, said Yerema.

“Boomer’s Legacy Fund is a fund for military personnel when they are in the theatre to help people in the country they are in,” she added. “For instance, one time they replaced a flock of sheep that had been killed by the Taliban. These are things that they often pay for out of their own pocket,  such as shoes or a jacket for the kids. This gives access to funds for that.”

The cyclists hope to raise $40,000 with this year’s ride for Boomer’s Legacy Foundation, a Canadian charitable organization created in 2006.

Since that time, more than $830,000 has been raised for the fund, which has been used to provide medical care for impoverished children, shoes for orphans, a midwife program, school supplies and a women and children’s centre in a number of countries as far afield as Afghanistan, Jamaica and Kosovo.

The 240-kilometre fundraising ride is slated to be completed on June 15 at the B.C. legislature.