Registration is open for the 4th Annual Faces of Valor USA Motorcycle Ride, Classic Car Show and Family Picnic on Saturday, June 23, 2012. The entire community is invited to participate in the fundraiser. This year’s honoree and beneficiary is local Army Sgt. Luis Rosa-Valentin, who was severely injured in the line of duty in Iraq, and his two young daughters. Proceeds from the event will help complete the special adaptation of Sgt. Rosa-Valentin’s home in Pasadena, Maryland. For more information, to register for the events, to donate, or to become a sponsor, visit www.FacesOfValorUSA.org.
During his second deployment to Iraq, in April, 2008, Sgt. Rosa-Valentin lost both legs and his left arm when an IED exploded next to him as he was returning to his unit after helping an injured comrade to a medi-vac helicopter. Today, Rosa-Valentin, a single father, is home with his two daughters, Meli and Bella. “Freedom is not free…don’t forget the fallen soldiers…and, please, don’t forget the soldiers who return from war, “said Sgt. Rosa Valentin.
More than 250 people from around the state are expected to attend the “three events in one day” to show their support and thanks for Sgt. Rosa Valentin’s service to our country. Sgt. Rosa-Valentin and his daughters will be in attendance at The Family Picnic, as well as wounded servicemen from Walter Reed – Bethesda, to meet and greet everyone. “This is not just about fun; it means something. The money goes to a great cause,” said Baltimore City Firefighter Mike Gavin, who participated in last year’s event.
The day will kick-off with sign-in for The Motorcycle Ride at 9:30 a.m. Hundreds of riders will leave Outback Steakhouse on Forest Drive at 10:30 a.m., drive through cheering crowds on Main Street in downtown Annapolis, and descend upon the Knights of Columbus on Solomons Island Road, to join servicemen, families, friends, and neighbors for the Faces of Valor USA Family Picnic. While you need a motorcycle for the ride, anyone can attend the picnic, including children and teens.
The Family Picnic runs from 12:00-2:30 p.m. and is a celebration of patriotism, service, and the American spirit. It is an opportunity for everyone in the community to come together, honor, and personally thank the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect American rights and freedoms. “It’s amazing! People just come out to help. It’s humbling,” commented Allison Chalifax, the mother of a wounded soldier at Walter Reed – Bethesda. The picnic is held both indoors and outdoors at the Knights of Columbus and includes games and activities for children, and slot cars for teen-agers. Lunch will be prepared by Martin’s Caterers with food donated by Belair Produce, Ever Fresh, H&S Bakery, Instant Whip, Pepsi, Saval Foods, Stanley Foods, and Wagner Foods.
The Classic Car Show is also held at the Knights of Columbus and is a main attraction at the picnic. At the end of the picnic, cars are judged and awards are given for a variety of categories. Car owners, passengers, and their families are welcomed to attend the picnic.
100% of the registration fees and contributions from this year’s event go directly to the mission of Faces of Valor USA – which is to provide scholarships and financial assistance to the families of military, firefighters, police, and EMS who are injured or killed in the performance of their duties. Faces of Valor USA is committed to raising $100,000 through this year’s event.
Homes for Our Troops, a national organization that builds specially-adapted homes for severely injured veterans, built a home in 2009 for Luis and his girls. However, much more work is needed to make the home more comfortable and accessible for Sgt. Rosa-Valentin and his young daughters. Faces of Valor USA hopes to raise enough money to help complete the home and adaptation with a bedroom and play room for Rosa-Valentin’s daughters, another bath, an office, a family room, and an elevator.
“We realize this is an aggressive goal,” said Ted Levitt, founder of Faces of Valor USA. “But, it’s a small price for us compared to the price that Luis paid serving our country and our freedom. I’m confident that our community will rally together to support this local hero.”
More than 30 local companies have signed on as sponsors of this year’s fundraiser, including: Martin’s Caterers, Brown Contracting, Bausum & Duckett Electric, Metropolitan Management Communities, R.E. Robertson Heating and Air , Ruhf + Plitt Architects, Eyes on Main, Eastern Performance Cycles, Arinc, Outback Steakhouse, Olmo Brothers Landscaping, Harley-Davidson, O’Briens,Reedgraphics.com, American Glass Co., Knights of Columbus, and Friends of John C. Astle.
For those who are unable to attend the event on June 23, but who are interested in showing their support to Sgt. Rosa-Valentin, donations can be made through the Faces of Valor USA website: www.facesofvalorusa.org.