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Riding into history ... and toward hope

Acting Township Mayor Bob Long and Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, both motorcycle enthusiasts, attended the Ride into History launch at the Fort Langley National Historic Site on April 26. The celebration of motorcycling and fundraiser will take place  July 27-29. - Natasha JONES/Langley Times
Acting Township Mayor Bob Long and Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, both motorcycle enthusiasts, attended the Ride into History launch at the Fort Langley National Historic Site on April 26. The celebration of motorcycling and fundraiser will take place July 27-29.
— image credit: Natasha JONES/Langley Times

Lisa lived on the Downtown East side of Vancouver for 10 years. Addicted to heroin and cocaine, she was in and out of trouble, often homeless, jobless and usually hopeless.

And abandoned.

Today, Lisa is a vibrant young woman with a healthy spring in her step, and much to be happy about, and a future that is full of promise.

She credits the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope for all that she has, for giving her a home, the opportunity to earn a living through its chefs training program, getting her social assistance and saving her life.

Lisa recounted her story on Thursday (April 26) when dignitaries, sponsors and members of the Kwantlen First Nations gathered at the Fort Langley National Historic Site to launch Ride into History, a motorcycle ride that will raise money for the Gateway of Hope.

Inspired by a common desire to give back to the communities they serve, Envision Financial, Aldergrove Financial Group and Prospera Credit Union, embarked on a partnership to celebrate 2012 as the International Year of Co-operatives. Their project was to sponsor Ride into History: A Community Event to Help End Homelessness.

The event, which will take place in the Fort Langley National Historic Site of Canada from July 27-29, is a celebration of motorcycling and the history of B.C. organized by a group of volunteers from the City and Township of Langley, Fort Langley, Kwantlen First Nations, the motorcycle community and the Fort. Fundraising activities throughout the weekend will include concerts, two pancake breakfasts hosted by the Fort Langley Lions Club, a motorcycle Show & Shine, salmon barbecue and, for motorcycle riders, a three-hour scenic ride that starts and finishes at the fort. All ages are welcome to attend.

“The Gateway of Hope is so much more than a homeless shelter,” said Gateway of Hope executive director Major James Hagglund.

“In addition to emergency shelter and the community meal program, the Gateway of Hope offers training opportunities like the Cooks Training Program and our Community Kitchen Program; family services which include: an income tax service program, a school supply program, clothing and furniture for fire victims and emergency clothing and food for those in need; and the Opportunities Program which supports residents as they learn life and employment skills,” Hagglund said.

“Having the three credit unions involved in this event sets the stage for community cooperation, the same type that made the Salvation Army Gateway of Hope a reality.”

“It’s a place about changed life,” said Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender about Gateway.

Fassbender may well be one of the anticipated 200 bikers who will converge on Fort Langley in July.

So, too, may Township Councillor Bob Long, a motorcycle enthusiast who represented the Township at the event.

Brandon Gabriel designed the logo for the event poster, which was unveiled at the ceremony.

The event will be one week after the Prospera Valley GranFondo, a premier mass cycling event expected to draw 1,500 riders to Fort Langley.

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