Thanks to the generosity of the Berks Lodge 71 of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Run4Sam organization, an automated external defibrillator (AED)-equipped bicycle is now in service in the Berks County Parks system.
Ranger Albert Evans, parks ranger supervisor, said that the FOP donated two Smith & Wesson Perimeter Police Bike packages (including helmets, bags and lights) for parks rangers. One of those is fitted with a special AED donated by the Run4Sam group.
The Run4Sam is a tribute to Samuel Brooklyn Reed, a Schuylkill Valley High School graduate, who was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver in Pittsburgh during his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh. Sam was a cross-country runner who frequented the Union Canal tow path along the Tulpehocken Creek. His mother, Peggy Reed, organized the run, now in its sixth year, in his memory. Previously, the organization provided two AEDs for the rangers’ vehicles.
F.O.P. President Joseph M. Brown, who is also a member of the Berks County Parks and Recreation Board, was instrumental in effecting the bike donation.
“The Fraternal Order of Police, Berks Lodge #71 has had a longstanding relationship with the Berks County Parks System,” said Brown. “The F.O.P. recently learned of the need for bikes that would be used by the park rangers for not only patrol purposes but for emergency medical services to ensure the safety of those enjoying the beautiful parks system. The F.O.P. donated two bikes to be utilized by the Park Rangers enabling them to respond quickly to any incident that may arise. The F.O.P. saw this as a way to give back to a parks system which has worked hand-in-hand with us in not only honoring our members, but bringing attention to the sacrifices made by members of Berks County law enforcement.
“We look forward to this continued relationship with the Berks County Parks System for many years to come.”
Berks County Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt praised the groups’ contributions, saying “The spirit of giving is alive and well in Berks!
“The Berks FOP Lodge and Run4Sam recognize the importance of park ranger mobility and the need for immediate response with an AED. This cooperative effort speaks to the passion both organizations have for the safety and well-being of the park users. They can continue to enjoy our county parks with increased confidence in their safety and security.”
Seven of the parks rangers have bike training and all rangers are First Aid/AED/CPR certified.
The dedicated AED/EMS bike will be used for parks system events and programs and special events, including runs.
Evans noted there are a number of areas within the parks system that are not easily accessible by vehicle – in particular, the Union Canal Tow Path and the trail system at Antietam Park. Having bicycles enables park rangers to access these areas enhancing public safety and park ranger effectiveness, he said.
This year’s Run4Sam is set for Sunday, Aug. 18, beginning at 9:30 a.m. A two-mile walk will begin at approximately 9:45 a.m. and both will be followed by a Kids’ Fun Run for children ages 12 and under. More information is available by visiting www.run4sam.net.