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Jim Thorpers host Wine on Wheels Saturday

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    Members of the Jim Thorpers Bicycle Team, from left, Jim Trainer, Jay McElmoyle and Erin Chapman, pedal in New Jersey during last year’s charity ride from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. TIMES NEWS FILE PHOTOS

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    Wine bottles with special labels will be available at Saturday’s Wine and Wheels fundraiser at Blue Lizard Winery.

Published July 10. 2019 12:11PM


Outdoor exercise is good for the body, but one local organization uses the exercise for something greater.

The Jim Thorpers Bicycle Team prepares for the annual 65-mile bicycle ride from Philadelphia to Atlantic City, New Jersey. Previously named Tour de Shore, the Ben to the Shore serves as an opportunity for teams to donate to children in their local communities.

All proceeds from the ride go to the Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation, which supports families of fallen first responders and children’s charities.

Each rider must raise a minimum of $200 plus registration fee to participate. The Jim Thorpers, consisting of approximately 145 members, are quite generous to this cause.

Last year, the team raised $70,126, the second-highest total of any team. If a team reaches a certain amount of money, Families Behind the Badge Children’s Foundation will make a monetary donation to a children’s charity of the team’s choosing.

In previous years, the Jim Thorpers have donated to Carbon County Special Olympics, Bo Tkach Foundation, Dylan and Gavin’s Rainbow Ministry and more.

“It’s important for people to realize that even though this isn’t a local ride, we are able to give back to the community because of it,” captain of the Jim Thorpers Bicycle Team Mike Dugan, said. “The more support we have for the ride, more will come back to Carbon County.”

To reach one of the fundraising incentives, the team hosts fundraising events which will go toward the team’s donation fund.

The third annual Wine on Wheels event will take place 5-10 p.m. on Saturday at Blue Lizard Winery in Andreas. Tickets purchased in advance are $10, $15 at the door and include a four-sample wine tasting and a collector’s glass. There will also be a raffle and live music. T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available for purchase.

If needed, transportation will be provided. A shuttle bus will depart from Jim Thorpe Area High School to Blue Lizard Winery for $10 a person.

Another fundraiser the group is running is a raffle for a six-course wine pairing dinner at Macaluso’s restaurant in Nesquehoning.

The team is devoted to raising money for children, but the members show immense support to law enforcement officers.

In May, Dugan traveled to King of Prussia and met with representatives for the Families Behind the Badges Foundation. They presented a $5,000 check that was given to the widow of trooper Donald Brackett, who passed away on duty due to a medical episode.

Because of this support, a new feature was added to the team’s mission statement — a challenge coin. A challenge coin bears an organization’s symbol to prove membership or special achievement. The coins are typically carried by service members and law enforcement personnel.

The Jim Thorpers created its own challenge coin. Dugan and other team members, organized an initiative for a Jim Thorpers challenge coin to be sent to families of fallen police officers across the country.

The coins will be available for purchase at the event.

To purchase a ticket to the upcoming Wine on Wheels event or the six-course wine pair dinner raffle, see any member of the team.


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