Bay To Brooklyn 2011

Why bicycle across the United States?   How did it all begin?

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Skillet and Darrell September 11, 2001, 343 firemen sacrificed their life in the line of duty and forever changed the lives of countless Americans. Many lost their fathers and sons on that day. I am a 24 year veteran firefighter and fortunate enough to have a son who has pursued a career as a firefighter with a neighboring fire department.

My father’s life was unfortunately cut short and I grew up most of my life without him. I vowed that if the opportunity ever came to a reality, I would be there for my son and he  has inspired me many times.

In 1991, I had a conversation with my 6 year old son, explaining to him that I would do everything in my power to be there for him and not leave him without a dad. Through most of his life, he has been coached to be the best he can be, to challenge himself.

I love to ride my Harley Roadking Classic and in 2008, with a group of brother firefighters, we rode from Santa Clara, CA to Colorado Springs, CO to be a part of the Annual Firefighters Memorial held there. I was talking with a firefighter from Seattle about a ride to New York being put together for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Upon my return to Santa Clara, I was talking with my son about this ride being planned for September 2011 and he flippantly says “maybe I will ride my bicycle to New York”. A few weeks later I began thinking I wouldn't be a very good father to let my son do it by himself! We began talking more seriously about it and then to plan it out. The course has been set and training underway.

Skillet and Darrell with Bikes On August 2, 2011 we will be leaving the Bay Area heading to Florence, Oregon. From there we will turn and head east on a journey through the heart of America where we hope to have the opportunity to speak with many about  That Day (9/11) and what it was like for them. Our intention is to stay with local firefighters or families at the end each of the days.

I believe in community involvement and will be sharing about how the Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation is involved in our community. To see more on how we are   involved  in the  community and with local organizations, please visit the following link: SantaClaraFirefightersFoundation .

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Darrell L. Sales

Darrell Sales I have been in the fire service since 1984 and love my job. In 2001, I was part of a training crew helping teach an academy of 17 recruits. They were in their last weeks of their academy when 9/11 occurred. I came on duty that morning and remember watching the events unfold. As reports came in and as we all watched, one of my many thoughts were that on that day, 343 firemen sacrificed their lives while we are working to bring 17 new firefighters online as rookies.  This is a way for me to honor the 343 and no better way than to connect with other firefighters from the west coast to the east coast and share stories about that day and how we were all bonded even closer as brothers and sisters in the fire service. No matter where we go, we are always close to family!

Darrell Dean Sales

Darrell Dean Sales I was a sophomore in high school on September 11, 2001.  As I walked in to my first class of the day I saw on the television a smoking building in the New York City skyline.  A short time later the second tower was hit and I remember having a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I grew up in the fire service around my dad who worked for Santa Clara Fire Dept.  I always understood that it was a demanding, challenging and sacrificial job.  But that morning I looked at the fire service in a different way.  It became to me, a way of life, putting others before yourself.   On 9/11, 343 firefighters along with other public safety officials paid the ultimate sacrifice.  This bike ride is my way of demonstrating determination and sacrifice.  It is nothing compared to what the heroes of 9/11 endured but riding across the country in honor of those people is my way of remembering them.

Today I’m 25 years old and I was a San Jose Firefighter in 2010 however, due to the budget constraints I was laid off with 48 other firefighters.  I’m in pursuit of another fire department and hope to continue my career in the near future.  I’m married to Shawna Sales and we have two bloodhounds, Mabel & Whiskey River, and we live in Capitola.  In my spare time I love to surf, spearfish, abalone dive, hang with my family and friends and ride.

-Omnis Cedo Domus-  "Everyone Goes Home"


David Lombardo

I enjoy short term missions, CrossFit, fitness & nutrition, flying, free-fall, just about anything with two wheels, just about anything that involves physical activity (mostly of the outdoor type) and discussions that have depth.  However, I also enjoy laughing, resting, relaxing, reading... and preferably, in conjunction with a meal... either of the "over-the-top" healthy type or even on occasion, the pleasurable very "rich" type.  My favorite meat is grass feed filet mignon.  My favorite fish is wild Alaskan King salmon.  My favorite color is white but for those of you that are going to tell me this isn't a color, I would then say blue.  My God, my family, and my friends are the most import thing in my life.  I am a work in progress and I find joy in this experience.  Life to me is 100% attitude and 0% what happens to me, or around me.  I choose life.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to "make" today the best it can be.  I choose to allow my life to make a difference.

Lastly, I am very proud to say that I am a former US Air Force pilot and a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Class of '93.  I was very fortunate that my military service was between wars and as a result my flight time consisted of training and peacetime missions.  However, having many close friends that did not have this luxury, many of which are still serving today, I know the sacrifices that they and their loved ones made/make on a daily basis.  9/11 has taken its toll on many since the tragedy occurred, but the members of our armed services have continued to sacrifice.  To all those that are serving, or have served, in the armed forces... blessings to you.  I am grateful for your service.
Slow is smooth.  Smooth is fast.
Connect.  Allow.  Flow.

Why I Ride

On Sept 11, 2001, I was driving to my Fire Officer Academy to report for day two of finals week.  I was listening to the radio and heard the reports of an explosion at the WTC.  As I sat in my car, I was in disbelief of what I was listening too, and could only hope it was a terrible hoax.

When I arrived at our training center and walked through the doors, I could hear the sound of the TV coming from our classroom amidst the silence from my fellow recruits.  I walked in to see the first tower smoking and shortly after, I watched tower two be hit by the second aircraft.  I stood in shock as I realized our country was being attacked.  We all saw it and we all know what we felt that day and in the aftermath that followed.

As a firefighter recruit, only a week away from graduating and beginning my work on the line, it was a bitter sweet time.  All the excitement and anticipation was quickly diluted with the loss of our fellow firefighters and all the innocent lives they attempted valiantly to save.

When I reflect on the horror of that day, I find comfort in my belief that our 343 died doing a job that they loved because serving was embedded in their heart.

Three days later, on my Dad’s 72nd birthday, I graduated from the Santa Clara Fire Department Recruit Academy, Class 2001- 1.  The following morning my family dialed 911 when my Dad unexpectedly collapsed to the floor.  Ten hours later I watched my dad take his last breath.  I am so grateful to firefighters/medics that responded that morning, allowing my family, and I, to have the time we did that day to spend with our Dad.

Our profession, service to others in their times of need, is not just a job.  It is a privilege we have been granted.  I am thankful for this opportunity.  I have enjoyed my profession since day one and the blessings and fulfillment it offers have only continued to grow through the years.  I wish all could experience the heart, the family, the Brotherhood, this profession of service manifests.

On the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, in my 10th year as a firefighter, and on the 10th anniversary of my father’s death, it is a personally humbling privilege to continue to serve my community as a first responder.  I am even more humbled to ride in honor of our 343 brothers and sisters with whom we share this privilege.

Riding in memory and honor of those that served and gave their all… to the Brotherhood.

Fred Belligan

Darrell and I have been friends for many years, we coached our boys in little league together. Last year when he told me about the ride that he and Darrell Jr were going to do, I was amazed. I later told him that if I could help, let me know and he told me he needed a driver for the support vehicle.
A couple of reasons I knew I wanted to be involved in this incredible journey are:
I was a member of the California fire chiefs mechanics section for 34 years when I worked for the City of Sunnyvale
I was born in NYC and my cousin was in tower 1  on the 42nd floor, when it was attacked on 9/11. Fortunately he was was able to flee across the Brooklyn Bridge to safety.
and most importantly I want the families of the 343 fallen firefighters to know we have not forgotten their heroics on that day.

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