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Muddy Angels Bicycle Ride - Chester County
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On May 23rd and 24th Chester County hosted the Muddy Angels, as the National EMS Memorial Bike Ride traveled through our region. The National EMS Memorial Bike Ride (NEMSBR) honors Emergency Medical Services personnel by organizing and implementing long distance cycling events that memorialize and celebrate the lives of those who serve every day, those who have become sick or injured while performing their duties, and those who have died in the line of duty. Those who ride are known as The Muddy Angels. The NEMSBR has sponsored an annual ride for several years that starts in Boston, and makes it way to the Washington D.C. area during National EMS Week. Along the way, EMS stakeholders support the ride by providing rest stops and meals for the participants. Organizing a ride of this nature is no small task, especially considering that there is also a simultaneous ride from Kentucky to D.C., with the two segments meeting in D.C. for a closing memorial ceremony. The Boston ride takes a slightly different course each year, but usually includes a portion of PA. This year’s route passed through the heart of Chester County. Day 5’s route went from Princeton, NJ to Lionville, with an overnight stay there, and Day 6 saw the ride depart Lionville enroute to Gettysburg, PA. More than 100 riders and their support personnel (known as Wingmen) entered Chester County just north of Valley Forge National Park on Pawlings Rd. during the unseasonably hot and humid afternoon of the 23rd, and were greeted by a fully staffed and equipped rest stop at Valley Forge Fire Co. Personnel from our own Field Services Division, Station 68, Station 67 EMS, Station 55 EMS, and many other EMS stakeholders from across the county welcomed the riders with shade, cold drinks, and snacks. The restrooms and misting fans were perhaps the biggest draw though. After s short rest and re-hydration break, the riders departed on the final leg of the day to Lionville. However, between Valley Forge and Lionville lay the rolling hills of Chester County – by far the toughest terrain of this ride so far. They may not look like much to the average eye, but after having 70+ miles already in the saddle for the day, the White Horse Rd. and Rt. 401 climbs were quite a challenge. An exhausted group arrived at the hotel In Lionville that evening ready to relax. After securing their bikes and gear, and grabbing a much needed shower, many of the riders and wingmen attended an informal Meet-N-Greet event at Uwchlan Ambulance Corps that evening. It was an opportunity for the participants to relax and mingle with each other and members of our EMS system while enjoying some light refreshments. The riders and wingmen came from all across the country, each with a different reason for riding. Some were riding in honor of a specific person, and some were riding simply for the cause in general. Regardless, they were all riding (or supporting) in an effort to increase awareness of important issues for all in EMS. The morning of the 24th brought light rain to the area, but it didn’t dampen the rider’s spirits. They departed Lionville at 07:00 sharp on their “century day” (100 mile) ride to Gettysburg. A short 5 miles into the day’s ride the Hopewell Rd. climb reminded the riders that they were still “enjoying” our rolling hills. The riders took advantage of the first morning rest stop at Wagontown Fire Company. Again, they were cheerfully greeted by personnel from Field Services, Station 35, Station 44 EMS, Station 33 EMS, and a host of other supporters. After a short break, they departed westbound on Rt. 340, enroute to Lancaster County, sincerely appreciative of the hospitality that was afforded to them during their time here in Chester County. Many organizations and personnel helped make this event such a success. We received monetary donations, and donations of food, beverages, resources, and time. The Field Services Division provided all the local level coordination, but we couldn’t have pulled this off without the generous support of: The Chester County EMS Council, Inc.; Fred Beans Ford of West Chester; Good Fellowship Ambulance Club; Valley Forge Fire Co., West End Fire Co. EMS, Uwchlan Ambulance Corps; Wagontown Fire Co.; Westwood Fire Co. EMS, Honey Brook Fire Co. EMS, and many other EMS agencies, personnel, and stakeholders. In addition, our local law enforcement partners provided traffic control at many intersections to ensure rider safety. For anyone who was involved with this event, we thank you for your support. It was a great experience, and we hope that the Muddy Angels will roll through Chester County again as part of a future ride. For full information on the Muddy Angels, go to www.muddyangels.com

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