Some things are just meant to be. The weather was good, the riding companions were better and the cause was the best! Conditions were perfect for the Valparaiso Firefighters L1124 3rd Annual Benefit Poker Run that took place at Harley-Davidson of Valparaiso.
Joe Krowiarz, a firefighter paramedic for the VFD L1124, gave this writer the rundown of what was happening at the event.
“It’s a benefit ride for local charities put on by the Valpo Firefighters Local 1124,” Krowairz said. “We’ve got a 50/50 raffle, food, door prizes and live music.”
Bobby Jones, retired captain of the VFD L1124, was there at the event to help.
“I like the guys,” Jones said. “I go to all three stations once a week to help out and I’ll keep coming and helping as long as I can.”
The ride started at 11am that morning and took participants on a 93 mile excursion to different fire stations throughout Porter, Lake and La Porte counties. The first stop was at the La Porte Fire Station #2, next was Michigan City Fire (with an optional stop at Matey’s Restaurant), then Portage Fire, then Hobart Fire, followed by Lakes of the Four Seasons Fire, Valpo Station 3 and back to Harley-Davidson.
Before leaving, riders received papers that they were to take with them to each station. Upon arrival each rider was to “draw a card” and have his papers marked. At the end of the ride, all of the riders formed their cards into a hand and the person with the highest hand, or the Captain Hand, won $100. The second highest hand (Lieutenant) won $50, and the lowest hand (Probationary) won $50.
Hey, why not have some fun for a good cause? That’s what Greeba Bova thought.
“This is my first Poker Run,” Bova said. “It was a gorgeous ride, and the firemen were nice at each stop.”
“We love riding. We’re motorcycle enthusiasts, and we get to ride and support charities,” her husband Frank Bova said. “She wanted to go for a ride today, and we had nowhere to go. I was driving by here with my son and I saw all the bikes here. So we stopped and asked what was going on. I signed up real quick, took the kids to grandma’s and we came back here.”
“I was so happy when he brought the flyer home,” Mrs. Bova said. “I would rather take my money and put it toward something useful.”
The event was lively and the Harley-Davidson parking lot was filled with the sounds of roaring motorcycle engines, sizzling hamburgers, hearty laughter and fine music. The music was provided by The Unit’s guitarist and vocalist Angelo Cicco.
“I like to do charity work. It’s for a good cause,” Cicco said with a smile.
Graham Federico, a firefighter paramedic for the VFD L1124, was the co-organizer for the Benefit Run.
“It took about two months reaching out and organizing. We’ve got a great group of people and we’re happy with the turnout,” Federico said. “This is my favorite function. I have a motorcycle and I’ve been riding since 2008.”
It’s no wonder that this event is a favorite. The people were friendly, everything was well-organized, and the day was perfect. This writer had an exceptional time and will definitely be back next year!
To find out more about the event or the Valparaiso Firefighters Local 1124 check out their Facebook page.