NEWFIELD, N.Y. — On April 10, 2012, Gary C Allen was faced with an emotionally taxing task.
With other motorcycle riders belonging to the Patriot Guard Riders, he escorted Cpl. Christopher Bordoni’s body from Syracuse’s airport to Ithaca at the request of the deceased marine’s family.
Just three months earlier, the 22-year old Purple Heart recipient and Ithaca High School alum was critically injured in a suicide bombing while serving in Kajaki, Afghanistan.
“After bringing Chris home, we wanted to do something in his memory,” said Allen.
For five consecutive years, Allen and nearly 200 other bikers from across Tompkins County have participated in a 90-mile motorcycle ride around Cayuga Lake in memory of Bordoni.
The proceeds from the riders’ registration fees go to two organizations handpicked by Bordoni’s family — the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation, an equine-assisted therapy program for veterans with PTSD, and the Ithaca Police Department’s K9 Unit.
This year, the memorial ride was organized by Allegiance LEMC, a fraternal organization of motorcycle riders from police, fire and military backgrounds. Vehicles from Bangs Ambulance, the Cayuga Heights Police Department, and the Ithaca Police Department’s K9 Unit led the procession.
“Christopher was a soldier who gave his life for our country,” said Barbara Trask, a Newfield native who arrived at the Newfield Fire Company early Saturday morning to watch the riders begin their trek. The ride took off from the Newfield Fire Hall and was escorted around Cayuga Lake.
“I think it’s great this group of people comes together to show their support,” said Trask, noting that society often fails veterans and the families of fallen soldiers.
The riders finished their journey by mid-afternoon when they reached the Fraternal Order of Eagles club in Ithaca, where they enjoyed barbecue with Bordoni’s family and other community members.