When the Zelienople Fire Department lost two young members and their friend, Sam Bucci, Elijah Lunsford and Trevor Barkley two years ago, it was a loss felt by the entire community.
When the Harmony Volunteer Fire Company lost their former Assistant Chief and volunteer, Doug Pickett Jr. earlier this year, that loss hit hard as well.
This year, all four men will be honored during the 3rd Annual Brotherhood Memorial Ride that will take place Sunday, July 22.
“This is a way we can honor our brothers and others who serve the community,” said Josh Rader, a Zelienople firefighter and ride co-founder. Ian Walker was also a co-founder.
The ride started in 2010, the summer after the three young men died in an automobile accident on their way to the fire station.
“It was Ian’s idea. He wanted to do something to honor them and the ride seemed like a good idea,” said Rader.
The first year, the money was used for a scholarship in honor of the three, and then last year, proceeds were divided between funds for a skateboard park to be built in Zelienople in memory of the three men, and funds for officers Dan Han and Joe DeSanzo. Hahn served with the Cranberry Township Police Department and DeSanzo served with the Zelienople Police Department.
“Dan was injured during duty and Joe had a stroke,” explained Radar.
This year the funds raised will be divided between the skateboard park and Pickett’s family.
Pickett served 20 years with the Harmony Volunteer Fire Company and was a former assistant chief. Pickett, 46, died this past April, leaving his wife Sue, and two sons.
“We hope to have over 300 riders," said Rader, “And the ride goes on rain or shine.”
In the past two years, the ride has raised close to $6,000 according to Rader.
"We want to keep helping our brothers," said Rader.
The ride will start and end at the Zelienople Fire Department Registration starts at 9 a.m. and the ride will begin at 11:15 a.m. The Zelienople Fire Department is located at 615 West Beaver Street, Zelienople. Costs are $20 per bike, $10 for passenger. Those who pre-register receive $5 off costs.
There will be post-ride activities at the department as well.