NEWINGTON – Police from across the state will gather in Churchill Park next Sunday, Sept. 17 to honor one of their own.
The 13th annual MPO Peter Lavery Memorial Ride will be held in memory of Newington Master Police Officer Peter Lavery, killed in the line of duty on Dec. 30, 2004, while responding to a domestic violence incident. Proceeds from the motorcycle ride will benefit the Peter J. Lavery Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has awarded over $113,000 in scholarships since its inception.
“Ours is one of the very few rides that have so much police support,” said Pamela Lavery, Peter’s wife. “They keep our riders safe. It’s something that’s really, really appreciated.”
Newington Master Police Officer John Aselton organizes the police motor units who escort the ride. Between 30 and 50 usually participate. He takes the lead.
“Peter was one of the senior officers when I was hired – one of our first motor officers here,” Aselton remembered. “He was a mentor to me. I looked up to him.”
When Aselton’s brother Brian, an East Hartford police officer, was killed in the line of duty in 1999, Lavery was there to support the family. Every year until his death he participated in the Brian Aselton Memorial Motorcycle Ride, celebrating its 20th year in June 2018.
The Lavery family will travel near and far to take part in the upcoming ride, which will take place in rain or sunshine.
Peter and Pamela’s son Raymond will be riding his father’s bike, a Honda Goldwing painted in his memory.
“My kids have never missed it,” Pamela said. “It’s a big family thing.”
Her niece Susan Lavery-Halerio will kick off the morning with a live rendition of the National Anthem.
It’s never rained on a ride day, as long as the family can remember. It’s a joyous event to keep alive the memory of Peter, who is missed by many.
“Every year he’s certainly there in spirit, I have no doubt about that,” his wife said. “I miss everything about him; he was just a huge part of my life. We shared everything.”
The route heads through Newington, Berlin, Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Middletown, Portland, Glastonbury and Wethersfield before returning to Churchill Park. In addition to the support from police, local businesses will sponsor the picnic and entertainment portion of the event, which commences around 11:15 a.m. when riders return.
Another unique aspect of the MPO Lavery Ride is that fire departments along the route hang their American flags high in the air on fire apparatuses in Lavery’s honor. The motorcycles drive underneath. For that reason Pamela is dedicating this year’s ride T-shirt to the Newington Volunteer Fire Department, which coordinates this effort.
“They do so much each and every year to help us with our ride,” she explained. “The flags are really such an amazing part of the ride and so often talked about by many of the riders. We thought we would like to dedicate this year’s shirt to them in thanks and appreciation. It is also their 100 year anniversary and this is the perfect year to show our thanks.”
T-shirt sales usually comprise a large portion of the fundraising before the ride. This year the design printing was delayed and volunteers were unable to put them out for sale during the Newington Extravaganza. But there’s still time to purchase the shirts, now available at Connecticut Police Supply on Fenn Road in Newington and Gengras Harley-Davidson in East Hartford.
“We have a good amount of sponsors and the town does so much to help us out,” Pamela said. “Without all the support we get we just would not be able to do this.”
Registration will take place from 8 to 9:45 a.m. All law enforcement supporters on all makes of motorcycles are welcome. A donation of $20 per bike is requested. For more information, visit PeterLavery.org.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
WHAT: The 13th annual MPO Peter Lavery Memorial Ride
WHEN: Sunday, Sept. 17, registration 8-9:45 a.m., ride departs at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Churchill Park, Main St., Newington
Buy a 2017 Lavery Ride t-shirt at one of the following locations:
CT Police Supply, 105 Fenn Rd., Newington
Gengras Harley-Davidson, 221 Governor St., East Hartford