image description
Members of the American Legion Riders of Dalton pose with local law enforcement on Monday morning at an appreciation breakfast.
image description
Road captain Neil Raymond, left, Vice President John Herrera and President Michael Lefebvre present Sheriff Thomas Bowler with a plaque.
image description
Hinsdale Chief Susan Rathbun with Officers Tyler Miller and Kristen Burgess.
image description
Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki and Officer Charles "Chip" Whiting III representing Otis.
image description
State Police Trooper Andrew Fox, left, Lt. Dave Buell and Trooper O'Neill from the Lee barracks.
image description
Lee Police Sgt. Craig DeSantis and Officer Chad Cummings pose.
image description
Officer Ted Crosby representing the West Stockbridge Police Department.
image description
Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh holds his department's plaque.
image description
The Cheshire barracks is represented by Lt. James Dalton and Trooper Glen Lagerwall.
image description
Troop B's commanding officer Maj. Barry O'Brien receives a plaque for the troop and a certificate of appreciation.
image description
Cindy Raymond, the group's photographer and historian, gets everyone into position.
image description

American Legion Riders Host Appreciation Event for Law Enforcement

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story

Michael Lefebvre, founding president of the Riders, welcomes guests to the event in Dalton on Monday morning.

DALTON, Mass. — The American Legion Riders of Post 155 on Monday morning recognized the many police departments that ensure the safety of its two annual motorcycle rides.

The tradition started a few years ago, said Michael Lefebvre, Massachusetts founding president, as a way to recognize officers' help with traffic control, and to show an appreciation of their daily efforts to protect and serve.

"I think we should appreciate law enforcement, they do nothing but good for us," he said on Monday morning as the Riders prepared to present plaques and letters during the National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day breakfast at the post home.

"They do traffic control for us — knock on wood — we've had this 16 years in the Berkshires and we haven't had an accident yet. There's a lot of motorcycle runs for charities and benefits and unfortunately, there's a lot of accidents ... 100 percent, they've backed us and been there and I feel they're unappreciated."

State police, Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler and representatives from departments in South Berkshire and the hill towns attended the buffet breakfast.

"It's a great group, that's why I came up here today," said Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh.

The organization raises money for a number of veterans' causes, participates in parades and escorts the remains of veterans to funerals. A ride on Memorial Day for members raises scholarship money for students pursuing careers in law enforcement and the much larger Freedom Ride in August raises money for veterans. The group changes up the routes each year, passing through different towns.

Walsh said the group doesn't "put a lot on us, they're all squared away" in terms of coordination. But it's rare, he said, for someone to go out of their way to show the force this kind of recognition. "Most come by and say 'thank you' and that's OK," he said. "This, it's a nice little breakfast today and I appreciate it."

The departments were presented with plaques that thanked them "for their unwavering continuous service and support to all within the community." State Police Maj. Barry J. O'Brien, commanding officer of Troop B, was given a certificate of appreciation for contributing to the "advancement of the American Legion programs and activities dedicated to God and Country."

Riders' road captain Neil Raymond noted that the year 2016 had been particularly deadly for those in law enforcement. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 64 officers were shot and killed, the most in the past five years.

"While you may work and reside in a relatively rural area it doesn't mean that you won't at some point in time in your own careers have these similar experiences or will have them," he said.  

"You're all very special people. You get up at all hours of the day and night to protect and serve the citizens of this state," said Lefebvre. "You put on a uniform that sometimes makes you a target. You go out to serve and protect ... you have our utmost respect."


On a lighter note, Raymond acknowledged, "there's nothing more disconcerting than a large group of loud motorcyclists rolling through a community ... while you don't think it's much from the standpoint of our not having any kind of an impact, it makes this flow so much easier. ... without your assistance it wouldn't be as beneficial and easy as it has been so far."

Departments sending representatives this year were Hinsdale, Otis, Lee, West Stockbridge, Great Barrington; and from the Lee and Cheshire barracks of Troop B; and Bowler representing the sheriff's department. Departments that were unable to send representatives were Becket, Cummington, Stockbridge, Dalton and Windsor.

Bowler said his department supports the organization whenever it has an event, including with its own motorcycle unit.

"This organization is great with the fundraisers they do in support of veterans," he said. "It's an organization that's very, very dedicated to a wonderful cause supporting our veterans and those killed in action. ...

"It's a great tribute to law enforcement for what we do to support this organization. This is just a great sign of community collaboration."

Tags: american legion,   law enforcement,   motorcycle club,   recognition event,   veterans,   

1 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to Text Ads

Sheds N Stuff

1 & 2 Car Garages,Sheds, Gazebos, Playsets, & More... Call or Stop Today! Rte 8 Cheshire MA 743-9964

Bob's Camper & RV

Summer SALE! Hot Deals you don't want to miss out on. Click to view Inventory. (413)458-3093

MCLA Summer

Each year, MCLA designs summer course offerings for both traditional and non-traditional students

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

Recent Stories