Fifteen members of the military police stopped in Clearwater Thursday at the local Legion for some lunch on their way through to Barriere. The group was near the end of a 16-day trek across B.C. to fundraise for the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. (Stephanie Hagenaars / Clearwater Times)

Military police make a stop in Clearwater

The group was near the end of a 16-day trek across B.C. to fundraise.

Though COVID-19 shortened their cross-country route again this year, the B.C. riders in the National Military Police Motorcycle Relay experienced the province in ways they otherwise may not have.

The group of 15 stopped at the Vavenby and District Legion in Clearwater on Thursday, Aug. 5.

The rally is an annual charity event benefiting the Military Police Fund for Blind Children. It was founded in 2009 by members of the Canadian Forces Military Police who wanted to raise awareness and support for visually impaired children in Canada. Since its inception, the ride has raised over $700,000.

Sandra Tucker, treasurer and pilot car driver for the group, said due to COVID-19, the group adjusted their route to stay within B.C. instead of passing the route on to riders in Alberta like in previous years. The bikers were a few days away from completing a 16-day trek, which started in Victoria, riding up to Jasper, turning around and heading back to the island.

She added pledges collected along the path of the ride, which began on July 24, had already totalled over $20,000.

Across the route, the group receives the biggest support from legions, said Tucker, as they supply meals and overnight stays, allowing them to save some cash along the way. All of the money raised goes towards supporting the fund for blind children.

This year, they also had a 10-year-old boy named Isaac along for the ride who is visually impaired. So far, he has received special glasses and $10,000-worth of vision therapy. The riders also stopped in Castlegar to play a game of softball against the local firefighters. Isaac, who was playing ball for the first time, hit the game’s only home run.

“We’ve had lots of fun along the way,” said Tucker. “We make sure to stop and do things like softball or get off (the) bikes and go to a goat farm…it helps to make it so it’s not just a big drive.”

Funds raised through the program go towards special equipment for visually impaired kids, such as tablets or sewing machines, and school summer camps, where they can meet other children with the same difficulties and challenges.

After the legion visit in Clearwater, the riders made their way south towards Barriere and Kamloops, with the goal of being home on Sunday, Aug. 8.

Further information on how to donate to the Military Police Fund for Blind Children is available at www.nationalmotorcyclerelay.ca.

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