For the first 18 rides of the 9-11 Memorial Coalition, one man, Father John Manno, was front and center — a part of and a champion of the ride, which seeks to remember and honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Father Manno, in many ways, became the public face and the spiritual “father” of this special ride. In the days just after that fateful September 11th, Father Manno went to Ground Zero to minister to and assist the various first responders that were helping in the aftermath of the tragedy. It is this unique perspective, and his great love of motorcycles that made his involvement in the Memorial Motorcycle Run seem inevitable.
Organizers of this event are not forgetting about his powerful legacy with the Motorcycle Run and will be honoring Father Manno along with all of the 9-11 victims at this year’s Ride.
“How could we not dedicate the Ride to a man that was a perpetual promoter of the event, and had been there from the very beginning,” Tom “Tank” Baird, one of the organizers of the 9-11 Coalition Memorial Motorcycle Ride, told Webb Weekly. “He recognized the healing effects of a memorial such as this, and his presence contributed much to it becoming Lycoming County’s 9-11 statement to the world to ‘Never Forget.’
“On the very first ride, four days after the attack, he was there. We had no advertising with the exception of some phone calls, and frankly little time to plan the first ride. But Father John had the pulse of the local biker community, and supported the effort On September 15, 2001, and continued that support for the rest of his life. He cannot be replaced and will be sadly missed.”
According to Baird, the 9-11 Memorial Coalition has acquired Father Manno’s Harley Davidson, “Fred” and it will be on permanent display, and will be trailered on this year’s ride. Father John will be remembered for many, many different ministries. His involvement with helping to solve the problems of this community are legendary, but Baird believes the two things that captured the attention of the public was his service to the Williamsport Fire Dept. and his helping to shape the 9-11 Memorial Coalition. He genuinely loved to ride, and having a very visible (and audible) biker priest made for an unforgettable combination.
This year’s 37-mile ride begins as it has for the past several years, at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company, along Route 54, just outside of Montgomery. It proceeds to Route 15 going north over the Montgomery Pike into South Williamsport, turning onto West Southern Avenue to Euclid Avenue in DuBoistown and then crosses the Abram Howard Memorial Bridge (the former Arch Street Bridge), into Williamsport along Arch Street to West Third Street, along West Third and East Third streets, through Williamsport, Loyalsock Township, and Montoursville and then along Lycoming Mall Drive, onto Route 220 North into Hughesville, turning onto Route 405 in Hughesville, and continuing through Muncy and Montgomery, turning right onto Route 54 and ending up back at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company.
The fire company will have vendors, food, and refreshments. After the ride there will be musical entertainment. T-shirts, caps and DVDs of the “Remember Honor Ride” documentary will be on sale.
The gates open for the Ride at 10 a.m. Wednesday, September 11 at the Clinton Township Volunteer Fire Company. The Memorial Service is at 5 p.m. and the Ride begins at 6 p.m.
For further information you can access the Coalition’s website at www.9-11memorialcoalition.org.