Wounded veteran to be honored at Sunday veterans’ ride in Boston

  • In this Dec. 27, 2016 file photo, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Joshua Bouchard talks about escaping a fire that consumed his Granby home late on the night of Dec. 26. Gazette Staff/Kevin Gutting

Staff Writer
Saturday, May 20, 2017

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran whose Granby home was heavily damaged in a December fire is being honored at the seventh annual Boston Wounded Veterans Ride on Sunday.

Sgt. Joshua Bouchard, who lost a leg and suffered a spine injury from the explosion of a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2009 — which also took the lives of two Marines, one of whom was Bouchard’s close friend — is one of six honorees at the motorcycle charity run.

Andrew Biggio, founder of the event, said the goal each year is to raise about $30,000 for each honoree nominated and selected.

Bouchard, 34, who graduated from Amherst Regional High School in 2001, has already benefited from the fundraiser because of the urgency caused by losing his home and wheelchairs to the fire.

“Josh Bouchard was fast-tracked,” Biggio said. “His house burned down and we provided him a brand-new truck within 24 hours.”

The money raised goes either directly to the veteran or a charity of the veteran’s choice.

The annual motorcycle run was inspired by Cpl. Vincent Mannion Brodeur, who was injured in Iraq in 2007 and awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

While registration is closed for the run, which collects $20 per rider and $10 per passenger, people can still participate by showing up at 1 p.m. at the Boston Harley Davidson, 650 Squire Road, Revere.

Those who won’t ride but want to support the initiative can come to the closing ceremonies to greet the wounded veterans at 2 p.m. at Suffolk Downs Race Track, 550 McClellan Highway, East Boston.

Biggio said live music, raffles, guest speakers and food will be at the event, which lasts until around 4 p.m.

In addition to Bouchard, honorees include Army Spc. Brandon Boyd, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jon Harmon, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Brie Sullivan, Army Spc. Kenny Butler and Army Cpl. Paul Skarinka.

For more information, visit TheyFoughtWeRide.com.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.