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Boomer’s Bike Ride passed through the area on Friday on its quick two day bicycle ride down Vancouver Island in honour of Corporal Andrew Boomer Eykelenboom.
“The support is phenomenal, it’s just building as a slow, growing effort,” said Maureen Eykelenboom, mother of the young man who was killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan in 2006.
She said support is huge in Comox where they live and where the annual ride starts, and at the other end, where they arrive to a hero’s welcome in Victoria, but they haven’t focused much on drumming up support along the way.
That morning Maureen had been awarded the Military Medallion for Distinguished Service, the highest civilian award from the Canadian military.
General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of Defence was on hand to present her with the award for her work organizing the ride in her son’s memory, raising over $600,000 for charitable efforts chosen by Canadian military members around the world.
She was proud to point out there are other Boomers Legacy rides starting up in other areas, with one in Nova Scotia this September.
The fifth annual ride was undertaken by 90 eager supporters of all ages right up to 87-year-old Second World Ward veteran Dr. Doug Yeo.
“When I read about what they are trying to do with this ride, doing it for a good cause, the little tykes in Afghanistan, it touched me,” he said during a break at Thriftys Foods in Parksville.
“I remember the poor little kids in France and how tough it had been on them,” he said, adding he was really glad to be able to do something to help.
Yeo was modest about his effort riding this far and optimistic he’d cycle all the way to Victoria, other riders pointed out he was far from the slowest in the pack.
For more on the ride or to donate visit www.boomerslegacy.ca or call 1-250-890-7556.