Area dentist joins in 9/11 Memorial Ride

By on July 29, 2012

by Kristina Gabalski

Dr. Steven Thompson will again this year ride in a motorcycle ride to three 9/11 sites. He is shown in New York City for the 2011 ride to the 9/11 Memorial. Bikers filled 7th Avenue as they awaited departure. Provided photoFor a second year, Steven Thompson, D.D.S., whose dental practice is located in the Village of Holley, will participate in America’s 9/11 Foundation Motorcycle Ride.

He calls the experience, “fascinating and moving.”

The ride will take place this year August 16-19. It begins in Pennsylvania and stops at all three 9/11 memorials – Shanksville, PA, where Flight 93 crashed; the Pentagon in Washington, DC and the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Dr. Thompson says the three-day event honors the lives of those who died on September 11, 2001 and raises funds to support active first responders.

“Riders come from all over the country,” he says, “a group from Spencerport consists of 80-100 riders … most are firemen, EMS and police.”

Anyone who wants to join the ride is welcome, Dr. Thompson says. This year the number of riders is limited to one thousand. For the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in 2011, there were two thousand riders.

“It’s a good bunch of people and they raise a lot of money for a good cause,” Dr. Thompson says.

Riders are escorted by police agencies along their route in a show of support as well as for safe passage, pictured here on Interstate 95 en route between the Pentagon and NYC, Saturday, August 20, 2011. Provided photoBecause the 9/11 Foundation is run almost entirely by volunteers, 90 percent of funds raised go directly to support first responders, their departments and families, including a college scholarship program for graduating seniors.

Dr. Thompson says $180,000 in scholarships have be awarded to children of first responders. “Our local volunteer fire departments are eligible,” he notes. “Fifteen scholarships were awarded this year.”

A wreath is laid and a memorial service is held at each of the sites, Dr. Thompson says. Last year the ride could not get into the World Trade Center memorial because work was being completed for the tenth anniversary. This year they will have access to the memorial and Dr. Thompson says the memorial in Shanksville will also be complete. “It will be dramatically different,” he says.

The ride has a police escort which allows highways to be closed off as the ride passes through.

Last year’s ride was “long, hot and tiring,” Dr. Thompson says, but he was, “amazed by the turnout. People were very supportive, they were waving flags and banners, it was encouraging.”

Dr. Thompson regularly closes his office on September 11 and gives his employees a paid day off.

“I tell them to take the day off and appreciate your family. That’s the lasting legacy (of 9/11) for all of us. It changed your perception of the way things are. It’s important to honor the day.”

As of July 23, there were still openings for those wishing to take part in the ride. Donations are also gratefully accepted. Dr. Thompson has a link on his websites: www.thompsondentalcare.com or www.mysmiledoctor.com.