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Motorcycle ride to honor firefighter


Cash raised at event will help establish fund for training.

By Kevin Smith
Staff Writer
Posted June 12 2005


When it came to remembering the late firefighter, it really just made perfect sense to use one of his great loves to promote the other.

Travis Long, a 24-year-old Plantation firefighter who died in a traffic accident in March, will be honored during a Sunday morning motorcycle ride. The ride, and the party to follow, will raise money for a fund created in his honor to help other prospective firefighters get the necessary training.











"He lived to ride; he absolutely loved riding," said Tanya Mistretta, Long's girlfriend who is also a Plantation firefighter. "And his other love was firefighting."

Battalion Chief Joel Gordon, spokesman for the Plantation Fire Department, described Long as "a tremendous asset to the department" and said he would be pleased to help other firefighters improve their skills.

"One of the things Travis was big on was training and education, so they felt an appropriate fund for him would be something that supports future education for firefighters and emergency service personnel," Gordon said.

Mistretta will administer the Travis Long Firefighter Memorial Fund, which will be the sole beneficiary of Sunday's event.

The ride will begin at the Quarterdeck restaurant at 2933 E. Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale at 10 a.m. and arrive about 90 minutes later at a second Quarterdeck restaurant at 12310 W. Sunrise Boulevard in Plantation. About 200 motorcyclists were expected to ride, running with a police escort, according to event organizer and Quarterdeck manager Mike Rudicel.

Live music will begin at 11 a.m. and Miami Dolphins players and cheerleaders will sign autographs. Raffles will be held and refreshments will be available. All proceeds will go to the memorial fund, according to Rudicel, who said Long and other firefighters were frequent patrons of his restaurant.

"When he passed away, it affected a lot of us," Rudicel said. "I came to find out that a lot of my employees had gone to school with Travis."

Long, who was killed on his motorcycle March 26 while riding along Interstate 395, had been a Plantation firefighter for about five years. The exact operations of the fund created in his name were still being worked out, and Mistretta was considering establishing a Web site for the fund. The intent of fund is to help qualified applicants attend the Broward Fire Academy.

"For me, it's just a way to keep his memory alive, and also a means to help people who have a heart for firefighting but not the money to pursue it," Mistretta said.

For more information on the ride, call the Quarterdeck restaurant at 954-423-4197. Contributions to the Travis Long Firefighter Memorial Fund can be made at Bank of America locations.
 
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