The Power of a Simple Act

One participant shares the awe she found in attending this year's Ride for Justice on Oct. 2.

·                                 October 7, 2011


The following editorial was submitted by reader Vanessa Stevens. Photographs were all taken by Peter DeFazio.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, the Petit Family Foundation held their second annual (Motorcycle) Ride for Justice.

Although those who watched the news coverage early that morning saw darkened skies and rain,  the sun was shining brightly by noon as the riders rode the thirty-four mile long scenic stretch through prime Connecticut Fall foliage towns of Burlington, Harwinton, Terryville, Wolcott, and Plantsville.

I was standing in a crowded parking lot of bikers and others ready to show support, grateful for the unexpected nice weather, and guessing the “power of good” was what could have been the only thing that made the weather smile on us all, when out of nowhere a monarch butterfly fluttered into view and flitted above the shiny red Harley Davidson motorcycle just feet in front of where I stood. 

Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and their often “out-of-the-blue” appearances and mystique brings a sense of peace and serenity, a spiritual nod that we are doing something right in the world.

The Ride for Justice event, now having seen its second successful year, was the idea of long-time rider Ron Catucci and his friends Keith Stack. Upon hearing the idea, long-time Petit family friend Vincent Trantolo offered the assistance of his firm, Trantolo and Trantolo, LLC. They were instrumental in organizing the event and securing generous help from Yankee Harley Davidson and Bozzutos Food Distribution Center.

Not missing a step, Ryan Lucas, the Manager of the Southington Outback Steak House stepped in and offered to do “whatever it takes” to help. The “whatever it takes” resulted in enough food (juicy chicken or steaks, fresh salad, and hearty bread rolls) for 4,000 people.

The timing of the charity event, conveniently taking place in the middle of each trial of convicts Steven Hayes and currently Joshua Komisarjevsky could not have come at a better time. When some of us wonder how Dr. Petit can get out of bed each morning, there is an awe-inspiring show of support. 

In the words of Dr. Petit, who borrows these words from his father-in-law, a Methodist minister, “just being there” is the most important, meaningful and simple show of support anyone can do and just being there is what so many have done to help make the Ride for Justice events so successful.

At the launch site, riders and others gathered for coffee and Munchkins provided by Dunkin' Donuts and all enjoyed live music provided by Noah Lis followed by Face4Radio band.

After the scenic ride, where even Dr. Petit himself hopped on a bike as a passenger because his car got blocked in at the launch site, bikers rode under a raised American flag to celebrate their ride, feast on the barbecue-style food provided by Outback Steakhouse, and be entertained by Shake That and The Happening bands.

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make this day special once again.

In the words of Norm LeBlanc, Trantolo and Trantolo bike run spokesperson, "large amounts of people all coming together for the power of good can move mountains" and he says make it your goal to bring one friend with you next year.

Together we’ll watch the numbers grow as the Ride for Justice continues to be an example of the  true outpouring of the power of good.

-Vanessa Stevens