On Sunday, July 15, 2012, Trantolo is participating in the Fidelco Ride for Independence, helping and sponsoring the event. Starting at the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation at 103 Vision Way in Bloomfield, the Ride for Independence begins with registration at 9 a.m. and features live music, food, and a raffle.

The Trantolo Girls will be present at registration, which will additionally offer music from Clear Channel Radio, morning refreshments, and a 50/50 raffle. By 10 a.m., Hard Water and Mermaid Martini are both providing live music, and the Bloomfield Police Department will do a K-9 demonstration. Building up to the ride is an opening and send-off ceremony at 11:45 a.m. By noon, the riders, led by Grand Marshal TSgt Matt Slaydon, USAF, EOD (retired), head off on the road through beautiful northern central Connecticut and return by 1:30 p.m. for lunch – a delicious barbecue meal catered by Hartford restaurant Black Eyed Sally’s complimented by live music from GTO and a second 50/50 raffle. Winding down the event is a second K-9 demonstration and announcing of the raffle winners at 2:00 p.m.

A Fidelco client and American hero, TSgt Slaydon and his guide dog Legend are traveling from Phoenix, Ariz., to participate in the ride. Serving as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician (EOD), TSgt Slaydon volunteered for three tours of duty in Iraq. However, while disarming his 100th IED, a bomb containing over 15 pounds of TNT, in Kirkuk, Iraq, he was blinded and severely wounded, losing his eyes and left arm and experiencing other devastating injuries. TSgt Slaydon partnered with guide dog Legend in 2010 and, because of support, has reclaimed his sense of independence and freedom.

Long recognizing the sacrifices made by U.S. military men and women, both active and wounded, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman is taking part in the event’s opening ceremony to thank riders for their support of Fidelco’s mission. Wyman has been a proponent of the Armed Forces, going so far as devoting her time toward the creation of the Wall of Honor tribute at the State Capitol for Connecticut military men and women who lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

For more than five decades, Fidelco has assisted men and women who are blind with the highest-quality guard dogs, supporting increased independence and serving the nation’s veterans. For those interested in attending the Ride for Independence, registration is $30 for a rider with a bike or a ghost rider (a rider unable to attend) or $40 for a rider and passenger with a single bike.