Pompano Beach – On Nov. 2 at about 4 p.m., an entourage of bicyclists are expected to arrive at Pompano Beach Elks Lodge No. 1898. The riders will have dinner at the lodge, stay as guests for the evening, and then eat breakfast before pedaling on to their next destination.
These approximately 50 cyclists, along with an accompanying support staff of about 25 others, are known as the Brotherhood Ride, a non-profit public charity organization, consisting of firefighters, law enforcement officers, and EMS personnel. The organization’s 2023 Ride will be dedicated to Florida’s 28 fallen first responders who died in the line of duty in 2022.
Lodge Secretary Marilyn Kronenberg says this will be a big first for their lodge as well as the community. She hopes to see members of the public come out to see the riders. She also wants the public to be made aware of the lodge’s new location at 4000 NE 10 Way. “We were without a lodge for two years,” she said, adding they’ve been at their new location for two years now. “It’s a little off the beaten path. People don’t think we exist anymore.”
“This is huge,” says the lodge’s Exalted Ruler Paul Maggard. “This is what we’re all about: our first responders, children and charities. It’s an honor for them to stay here and let us host them. This is awesome. It’s exciting for me.”
The Brotherhood Ride 2023 ride started in Naples on Oct. 27 and ends in Miami on Nov. 4 with, in addition to Pompano Beach, overnight stops in Arcadia, Bradenton, Lakeland, Orlando, Cocoa Beach, Stuart-Jensen, Hollywood, and Miami. The riders will cover a distance of more than 600 miles, and pedal between 75 and 90 miles daily, says the organization’s founder and president, Jeff Morse, a battalion chief with the North Collier Fire Department. “All the riders have to be active or retired,” Morse said.
Morse started the Brotherhood Ride in 2007. “I wanted to give back to the families,” he says. “Our 2023 Ride will be dedicated to Florida’s 28 fallen first responders who died in the line of duty in 2022 protecting their communities. Our team will honor them as we cycle through the state.”
Morse says when the rides are planned, they contact local Elks lodges for places to stay for the night. Brotherhood Ride has made many memorable trips over the years, including a 1,734-mile ride in 2011 from the Sunshine State to Ground Zero in New York City to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, including hundreds of first