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Today’s motorcycle ride fund raiser to benefit injured officer

By Staff | Jun 27, 2009

It has been the better part of a month since Cape Coral motorcycle officer Damien Garcia was critically injured in a serious accident, and it appears that the positive signs of improvement from his Miami hospital bed have caused the community to rally together stronger and more cohesively on his behalf.
Dave Lawler, a friend of officer Garcia’s and an avid motorcyclist, rallied the help of the local Fraternal Order of Police lodge to put together a motorcycle ride fund raiser for Garcia and his family.
“Damien has been a very good friend of mine for the past couple years,” said Lawler, a 40-year motorcyclist. “It’s very important for people to come out. Damien is just an all around super great guy. It’s going to be a good time, it’s going to be a great event.”
Registration for the ride will take place Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Victory Lane Cafe, located at 4120 Hancock Bridge Parkway, at a cost of $20. The ride will begin at 11 a.m. and will end at GEO’s Italian Restaurant on Pine Island Road. Live music, food, raffles and much more will be available at GEO’s as part of the fund-raising efforts.
Though Garcia remains in critical condition, he continues to show positive steps towards a possible recovery, said city spokesperson Connie Barron earlier this week.
The extent of his recovery remains to be seen, but the support and prayers of Garcia’s community has touched the hearts of his family, Barron said.
“When I first found out about this, it was not only shocking, because Damien is a fantastic rider… It was like getting kicked in the head,” Lawler said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was at the hospital every day since this happened.”
Lawler said safe driving and awareness are components that can prevent many motorcycle accidents from occurring.
“People in cars really need to pay attention,” he said. “They need to stay off the phone, stop texting. If you’re getting in the car to drive it, drive it. Cars really need to look out for motorcycles, they really really do.”
Lawler is a member of motorcycle group ABATE, which he says is a proponent of tougher traffic laws.
“Florida needs to get a lot stricter with their motorcycle laws,” he said.
FOP representative Cape Coral Sgt. Robert Wardrop expressed the importance of the community’s support and that of people like Lawler.
“It means a lot to us,” Wardrop said. “We’re very appreciative of the community support, the businesses and the donations.”
Money donated during the event will be placed in an account at TIB Bank opened earlier this month, called the Special Needs Account, C/O FOP Lodge 33.
“Whatever the family deems necessary, that’s what the money’s for,” Wardrop said. “The more people that show up, the more support for the family, which is what we want.”
ABATE will also hold a fund raiser from 6 to 10 p.m. at Sun Sports Cycle & Watercraft.
Lowes Home Improvement Center, on Pine Island Road, will host a July 4 fund raiser from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to raise funds for Garcia and his family.
A dunk tank, classic car show, Fire Department truck display and raffle and bucket drive will be components of the event.
Cape Coral Police Chief Rob Petrovich continues to be heartened by the various events and continued support of the community.
“I think when you see and hear about these kinds of things… it’s very touching and it’s wonderful,” Petrovich said. “The fact is that everybody is taking a crisis, a bad situation, trying to make sense of it and trying to make good of it as well as they can.”