Ride for Autism Awareness open to all ‘with heart’
AROOSTOOK COUNTY — A group of automobile enthusiasts will host a Ride for Autism Awareness on Saturday, August 20, and they are welcoming all with a heart for those living with autism to join the event.
The registration fee is $20 per vehicle and all money will support The Heather and Liam Connection, a non-profit autism awareness organization based in Madawaska.
“I was never really that much aware of autism and how it affects families. First of all, it affects those individuals that have it and it affects the families and it affects the community,” event organizer Ken Theriault shared. “Autism is something that could be in anyone’s family. There’s nothing that drives that – not how much money you have, not how smart you are. It’s just a thing that happens in the brain and it’s a tough, tough thing.”
Registration for the ride will begin in Madawaska at 9 a.m. at Norstate Federal Credit Union on the day of the event. The group will then cruise down to Pelletier Motors in Fort Kent, where riders in that area can register as well as enjoy coffee and donuts. From there the group will ride to Burger Boy in Caribou for a meal and then travel to Loring Air Force Base, which is holding an open house that day.
So far, the group consists largely of antique autos and specialty cars such as Mustangs, Corvettes, and Camaros, but Theriault said all types of vehicles are welcome, including motorcycles. “You don’t have to have the car. What you have to have is the heart to be there. If you want to drive your Impala down with us, we’ll gladly have you with us,” he said.
Theriault said the ride will be family-friendly and make for a nice outing. He said it would also be a time for couples to enjoy a late summer outing together and enjoy a bite to eat. Theriault’s wife Patsy will be joining him in the couple’s black 2007 Mustang GT.
“One of the things we’re hoping to do with this ride also is (promote) comradery amongst people and new friendships that can be established by this group, which in the future may be able to do a little more or create more events in order to benefit autism awareness,” Theriault said.
Kerry O’Brien, George Morneault, Gerald St. Jarre and Dan Chasse are planning the event along with Theriault.
The organizers for the Ride for Autism Awareness are also seeking sponsors for the event. Those who donate $250 will have their names – or the names of their businesses – on posters promoting the ride.
“We’ve gotten good support, especially from Pelletier Motors. They’ve been very, very good and very supportive of this issue, (as was) United Insurance,” Theriault said.
For more information about the Ride for Autism Awareness, call Ken Theriault at 207-436-0693.
Those who are unable to participate in the ride but who might want to donate money to the local autism awareness organization can send checks to: The Heather and Liam Connection, P.O. Box 16, Madawaska, Maine, 04756.