The Sixth Annual Military Police National Motorcycle Relay Ride (MPNMRR) began August 2 in Victoria, British Columbia and finishes in Gander, Newfoundland on August 26, 2014. Military police, members of various motorcycle clubs, and civilian riders from across the country will ride from one town to the next where they will raise awareness and dollars for the Military Police Fund For Blind Children (MPFBC).
Motorcycle riders are encouraged to go on-line and register to participate during any leg of the trip. Of the riders who started out in Victoria four to six intend to complete the entire 10,000 km journey.
Across the country at wings, bases, stations, Royal Canadian Legions and in civilian communities activities like softball tournaments, lasagna dinners, even hypnotist shows are being held to raise money. Along with barbeques, dances and car washes to support the Military Police Fund For Blind Children.
“A visit to the MPNMRR Facebook Page will show you how much fun the ride is. These folks have been working so hard to raise money. The committee organizing the ride are all volunteers. The Military Police have such a passion for this fund. Last year the ride generated $60,000. They hoped to surpass that goal in 2014, and it looks like they are going to,” says Captain Joanna Labonte Public Affairs Officer, CF Provost Marshal/CFMPG. “Some of the riders are on their bikes so much they are white from the helmet up and their faces are as brown as leather. It shows their dedication to the ride.”
The MPFBC was founded in 1957 and specializes in assisting visually impaired children up to the age of 21. The fund is operated entirely by Military Police volunteers and has no paid employees.
“Every Canadian Forces establishment has a local representative and there are regional representatives on the board of directors, currently chaired by LCol Gilles Sansterre. All funds raised are used to benefit visually impaired children. All Military Police and partners are extremely proud of the Fund,” says Labonte.
The fund relies heavily on word of mouth to get the message out about what they can offer to children who are blind or visually impaired.
“The committee wants to connect with individual families, so the country is divided into regions. When a submission for assistance is received from a family a representative of the MPFBC meets with the applicant to secure a relationship and needs are understood. The committee then meets quarterly in Ottawa.”
The board of directors has been especially gratified with its success. They define success by the amount of money raised by volunteers, and most importantly, by the amount of disbursements to visually impaired children.
“Sometimes people only think only of eye glasses, or canes. There are many other visual aids out there to assist children including special chairs to position the kids so they can see what they need to see, and there is computer technology,” explained Labonte whose own son benefited from the MPFBC.
The fund supports not only the children of serving and retired members, but civilian children as well.
“Last year $100,000 was donated to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) by the MPFBC. CHEO has over 1600 children on their waiting list for ophthalmological services. With the money they received they are planning to build a secondary ophthalmology clinic,” noted Labonte.
Please visit www.mpnmrr.ca to see the riding schedule.
MPNMRR Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/MPNMRR
To learn more about the Military Police Fund For Blind Children visit www.mpfbc.com.