Manchester couple honors son's memory with "Coming Home" fundraising event

Release Date: 8/7/2013 12:00:00 AM

GARDINER and PITTSTON—In 2006, Julian and Betsy Harwood of Manchester suffered a heartbreaking loss when their 11-year-old son, Talon, passed away from complications of asthma. As happens with many families that weather a tragedy, the next few years were especially challenging and in the end, Julian and Betsy decided to go their separate ways. But that was easier said than done.

In 2011, the Harwoods, long time motorcycle enthusiasts, hit upon the idea of holding a fundraiser to give back to the organizations that helped Talon during the last few days of his life, and the Talon Harwood Memorial Ride was born. In its first two years, the event raised nearly $15,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Portland and LifeFlight of Maine.
This year promises to be even more special. LifeFlight and other emergency medical services in the state strive to help people go back home after an unexpected injury or illness. For the Harwoods, coming home means putting their family back together after losing Talon, and they would like to share that with other motorcycle enthusiasts and LifeFlight supporters.

The 2013 Talon Harwood Memorial Ride will be held on Saturday, August 10 and will feature a great ride for motorcyclists followed by great food and music for everyone. Participants will meet at Mike’s Water Street Grill in Gardiner at 9am, with a planned departure time of 10am. The route will take riders down to picturesque Pemaquid Point where, during a break in the ride, Julian and Betsy will get re-married. Anyone, by bike or by car, is welcome to meet the group in Pemaquid for the wedding.

Following the short ceremony, riders will head north again, finishing at the Pittston Fairgrounds (south of Augusta). Non-riders are invited to meet the group at the fairgrounds from 1pm to 4pm to enjoy a delicious barbecue, live music and much more. Donations will be accepted and folks can also purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a bike trailer, a lawn mower and weed trimmer, or an 18-item meat package from Fuller’s Market in Gardiner. The LifeFlight helicopter may also make an appearance if it’s not called out for a patient transport.

LifeFlight of Maine is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit air medical and critical care transport organization. LifeFlight helicopters, flying at 165 miles per hour, bring lifesaving critical care staff and equipment directly to the patient. It also provides advanced emergency medical training to Maine’s hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS) and public safety agencies. Overseen by 21 physicians, LifeFlight cared for more than 1,500 critically ill and injured patients in 2012. Since its inception in 1998, LifeFlight has transported more than 15,000 patients from every hospital and nearly all of Maine’s communities and islands. If you would like to learn more about LifeFlight, call the Foundation office at 207-230-7092.