NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – A charity ride to benefit disabled Iraq War veteran Stephen J. Mandile of Uxbridge will be held Saturday by the Fire and Iron Firefighters Motorcycle Club Station 128.
“We were looking for a charity to support when Jon (club vice president Jon Winslow of Northbridge) saw an interview with Mandile on a Boston news station,’’ said club president Steven George, a Northbridge native and now a resident of Millbury.
“Jon called me and said, ‘I think we found our charity,’’’ George said. “We did some research and then asked Mandile and his wife, Jessica, to meet with us. ... What really touched us is he’d wanted to become a firefighter after his service in the U.S. Army and Massachusetts National Guard ended,’’ George said.
The debilitating injuries Mandile suffered in Iraq – which include a severe spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder, ended that hope.
Mandile’s hope now is for a fourth surgery, a $50,000 procedure not approved by the Veterans Administration, to implant a pump that would administrator pain medication directly to the source of the pain.
“We know we can’t raise the entire amount,’’ George said, “but every little bit helps.’’
The group also hopes that bringing attention to the issue might sway the VA to reassess the decision and approve the surgery.
The ride on Saturday begins at the Progressive Club, 18 Whitin St., Uxbridge, and ends with a chicken barbecue at Hawk’s Nest, 40 Plummer Corner, Whitinsville.
Registration is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The ride begins at 11 a.m., making stops at Veteran of Foreign Wars halls in Bellingham and Uxbridge. Riders should arrive at Hawk’s Nest between 2 and 3 p.m.
Hawk’s Nest owner Phil Pichell has been “really great’’ and is charging just the cost of the food, George said.
The cost, barbecue included, is $20 per rider and $15 per passenger. The cost to attend just the barbecue is $15.
“We’re been promoting this across the valley and expect a large turnout,’’ George said.
Donations are also being accepted and may be made at any Rockland Trust location or checks payable to SGT Mandile Disabled Veteran Benefit Fund, c/o Rockland Trust, 4 North Main St., Bellingham, MA 02019.