A firefighter’s bike ride home away from home

Seth Cohen

Kent citizens and families gathered along Water Street on Tuesday afternoon with mini American flags in tow to welcome members of “Ride for 9/11.”

Nine firefighters are on a mission to cycle across the United States from Los Angeles to honor those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Their final goal is to reach ground zero by 9/11.

Among those in attendance to greet the riders was Scott Hamilton, whose son Army Spc. Adam Hamilton was killed during his tour in Afghanistan in late May.

“My son died for his country,” Scott Hamilton said. “I came out here to support those firefighters who showed their bravery for everything my son fought for.”

The nonprofit organization also helps to raise money for The Leary Firefighters Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project.

One of the cyclists was Kent native Adam Loeser.

“We’re riding for Ride for 9/11,” Loeser said. “Today, we traveled here from Toledo, which was about 141 miles, but it was worth the warm welcome we received. I’ll never forget where I came from.”

Loeser gave a speech at the Home Savings Plaza with his teammates by his side. “We hope to keep this spirit alive to this day, especially on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11.”

Mayor Jerry Fiala said he’s never seen the town come together like this.

“I’m just glad everyone is here to shake hands and keep the peace,” Fiala said. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my years in office, and it’s a very good feeling to know we have someone among our community who strives to show his love and support for his country.”

Contact Seth Cohen at [email protected].