U.S. Marine Corporal Christopher Bordoni died five years ago, in April 2012, and the 6th annual Bordoni Memorial Ride is scheduled for this Saturday, with a chicken BBQ to follow. The ride around Cayuga Lake will benefit Dogs2DogTags.
All riders and groups are welcome for the Cpl Christopher Bordoni Memorial Ride, and registration runs from 10am-11:40am at the Seabring Inn, at 330 Sebring Road in Newfield.
A 2008 graduate of Ithaca High School, Cpl. Bordoni was critically injured in a suicide bomber attack just weeks before he was to return home from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, and succumbed to his injuries several weeks later. A volunteer corps of Patriot Guard Riders escorted a motorcade from Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport to bring him home, along with dozens of police vehicles. The route was flanked by hundreds of Central New York residents paying their respects, and several fire departments along the route displayed American flags.
The Patriot Guard Riders also provided a flag line outside the calling hours and funeral service for Cpl. Bordoni, and “After getting to know the family, a group of us talked about putting a ride together that could honor Cpl. Bordoni and also give something back,” according to Gary C. Allen, a local motorcyclist who was a newly minted Ride Captain of the Patriot Guard Riders at the time. The first three rides donated proceeds to the New York Patriot Guard Help on the Homefront program, a volunteer outreach group providing support to veterans, families of deployed service members, and Gold Star families.
Five years later, Mr. Allen says he and other participants are part of the national Allegiance Law Enforcement Motor Cycle Club, and have continued the tradition of the annual memorial ride. “Our club organizes this to a tee,” says Allen, an organizer of what’s now the Allegiance LEMC New York. “With our local law enforcement and first responders supporting us, it has become the premiere ride,” with ride participants coming from motorcycle clubs near and far.
The memorial ride has grown from 93 participants in its first year to 240 in its fifth, in 2016. The last two years, at the Bordoni family’s request, the group split the proceeds between IPD’s K-9 Unit and the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation.
This year’s ride beneficiary is Dogs2DogTags, a non-profit that pairs service dogs in need of homes with military veterans “in need of unconditional love and support,” at no cost to the vet. “Canine companionship can make a real difference in the fight against an incredibly high suicide rate among our veterans, while saving the lives of canines stuck in shelters and otherwise subject to euthanasia,” according to the organization.
Allen says Dogs2DogTags performs a vital service that helps two groups: rescue dogs who urgently need a home, and military veterans who often suffer from PTSD long after they return home. The group provides the service dog training for the dogs.
Cpl. Chris Bordoni was a rifleman attached to the 1st Battalion 6th Marine Regiment, and served two tours in Afghanistan from 2008 until his injury in January 2012. He received the Leatherneck Award for High Shooter in boot camp, four Expert Marksmanship badges, the Purple Heart, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, NATO Medal ISAF Afghanistan, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor.
There’s a cost of $20 per rider and $10 per passenger, and the first 200 registered participants will get a benefit pin and decal. Riders will get a briefing at 11:45am, followed by kickstands up at 12 noon sharp, as the ride heads from Newfield on a route around Cayuga Lake.
The ride will pass the Calvary Cemetery on the west side of Route 13A, Floral Avenue, where Cpl. Bordoni is interred, and Mr. Allen says, “we ask anyone who doesn’t ride but would like to support and remember Chris to assemble at the Calvary Cemetery at 12:00 as we pass by. Bring a flag or we will have some to hand out.”
From there, the riders will proceed up Route 89 to Seneca Falls, around Cayuga Lake into Union Springs, King Ferry, and Lansing, and then back through Ithaca to the Eagles Club at 161 Cecil Malone Drive for a chicken BBQ that’s open to the public. The chicken BBQ will start at about 2pm.