This chair could go just about anywhere, even upstairs or over soft ground, where regular wheelchairs could not go.
While nothing could ever give back to disabled veterans what war had taken from them, Coughlin figured that allowing them to get to places they might want to go that lacked ramps and other facilities would go a long way to saying thanks for their service to their county.
“I thought it would be a very good thing to do for our veterans who served their county and sacrificed so much,” he said.
But as noble as the idea was, making it happen was a challenge.
“He wanted to find a way to fund the purchase of these,” said Mike Delaney, VP for marketing and communications. These vehicles, however, are not cheap, costing anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 each.
Since Coughlin got the idea at a time when work was about to start on the raising of the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge, why not plan a last run over the existing bridge before it was changed forever?
Thus was born the BCB four-mile Bayonne Bridge Run that will take place rain or shine on Sept. 29.
The idea, Coughlin said, was to raise as much as possible to purchase the vehicles for veterans, and the more money raised, the more veterans will benefit.
“These go a long way toward providing these disabled veterans with quality of life,” Delaney said, noting that with these vehicles, a veteran can go onto a beach or out to a picnic area when conventional wheelchairs could not get them there.
The cost to enter the four-mile run or the two-mile walk is $30 the day of the run. T-shirts are included with each entry on a first-come-first-served basis.
Participants can preregister for both events for $25 until Sept. 27, which will guarantee a T-shirt.
A spectator lunch pass for food only is $5, with food and beer, $20. Children under 12 are admitted for free. The party cost is included in the registration fee for participants.
The schedule for the day starts at 6:30 to 8:15 a.m. with packet pickup and registration. Instructions and welcome at the starting line takes place at 8:15 a.m. The run starts at 8:30 a.m. The walk starts at 8:40 a.m. The awards ceremony and celebration party start at the end of the race at about 9:45 a.m.
Runners in the four-mile race will start on Avenue A, run onto the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island, and return. The party will take place at the foot of the bridge in Bayonne. Awards will be given to the top three males and females across the finish line. Awards will also be given to the top three males and females in age categories 14 and under, 15 to 19, 20 to 24, 25 to 29, and then five-year age groups through 85. The event will be held in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority Police, the Bayonne Police and Fire departments, McCabe Ambulance, and the Borough of Staten Island. USA Track and Field has certified the four-mile course and sanctioned the event.
For more information call (908) 245-000 or Pam Sciafane at (201) 823-0700, ext. 2038
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.