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Local Real Estate Broker Lands Proper Perspective
For Purpose-Ridden Life

By Samantha Harrigan, Public Relations Intern

STORRS, Conn.Peter Rich has always been passionate about motorcycles. His father rode, and he knew at an early age, he would also. When he was just 16, he bought his very first bike a 1937 Harley-Davidson. The past 50 years have taken him on many adventurous rides, but now cruising through retirement, Rich unites tires to pavement and his heart to worthy causes.

peterA longtime philanthropist, Rich has participated in the National MS Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter MS Motorcycle Ride since its inception six years ago. And he’s ready to saddle up again for a seventh all in an effort to help end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Rich, a resident of Storrs, Conn., grew up in Willimantic, Conn., and attended Windham High School before enlisting in the Navy, where he served for six years. After a stint in the military, he became a jack-of-all-trades, eventually making his mark, however, as a real estate broker. In 1971, Rich received his license and opened his own business. Within the first year, Rich sold a large hotel and realized he had found his niche.   

“That first year I made more money than I ever had previously,” said the coolly confident Rich. “At some point, I began to think, ‘this money has got to go somewhere.’ That’s when I became involved with several different charitable organizations.”

Rich established his own company, Rich Realty, which prospered greatly. While his business continued to expand and grow, so, too, did his charitable contributions.

Rich is the former chairman of the board with the local Salvation Army, and has been donating to Easter Seals for several years. Recently, he joined forces with a few friends to build schools and water systems in desperately impoverished regions of Africa.

“There are many people living in poverty in the U.S., but you really don’t know what it means to be poor until you visit a third-world country,” said Rich. “In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t actually cost that much to build a school and water system for those who are in such distress. I am fortunate to have the means to give what I can and I truly feel it is my duty.”

In 1981, Rich decided to organize his own charity, the American Patriots Fund, to assist wounded soldiers and the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty. He was moved to take action after a soldier from Mansfield, Conn., was killed in the Middle East.

“The American Patriots Fund exists to ensure that wounded soldiers and families of fallen soldiers are not forgotten. They have made the ultimate sacrifice and deserve assistance.”

Rich found room in his heart for yet another great cause in 2001, when he began participating in the Greater Connecticut Chapter MS Motorcycle Ride.

peter“I was eager to be a part of the MS Motorcycle Ride because it combined two of my passions,” Rich recalled. “I love to ride and if I can show my support for a great cause at the same time, I couldn’t ask for more. My niece is battling MS and a few years ago a Navy buddy died of complications related to MS. I’ve seen this disease’s devastating effects first-hand and am proud to take part in the movement to find a cure.”    

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—a potentially debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. Symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, fatigue and, in some severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, and there is currently no cure. Funds raised through the National MS Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter events, such as the 2007 MS Motorcycle Ride, presented by TSI Harley-Davidson/Buell, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and provide for vital programs and services offered by the chapter to those in the state living with MS. 

On Sunday, July 22, Rich will rev up once again for the cause, saddling up with longtime friend and former client, State Senator Edith Prague. The pair will cruise on a special edition Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, Patriot model. The bike, which Rich holds dear to his heart, is only available to those who have served or are currently serving in a branch of the United States military service. The license plate on Rich’s bike reads “UBOAT,” and is centered between two silver dolphin emblems to signify his former position as a U.S. sailor.

“The only thing that feels better than the freedom experienced from cruising the open road is knowing that there’s a greater purpose behind the ride,” said Rich, who is featured with State Senator Edith Prague on the 2007 MS Motorcycle Ride event poster and brochure. 

The upcoming MS Motorcycle Ride will kick start from TSI Harley-Davidson/Buell in Ellington, Conn., and will traverse a 40-mile route through Connecticut’s breathtaking countryside, eventually coming to rest at Hebron Lions Fairgrounds in Hebron, Conn. At the finish line, bikers, spectators and visitors will be greeted with a down home barbeque, live entertainment by 1800 Band, vendors and drawings for prizes.

Pre-registration is available online at http://www.ctfightsms.org/. Pre-registration will also be available at TSI Harley Davidson/Buell, located at 398 Somers Road in Ellington, Conn., on Saturday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday, July 22, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. There is a $20 fee for riders and a $20 fee for passengers. The event is open to spectators and visitors with a $10 donation for Hebron Lions Fairgrounds finish line festivities only.

Sponsors include TSI Harley-Davidson/Buell in Ellington, WFSB-TV Eyewitness News Channel 3, The Rock 106.9 WCCC and Connecticut Cruise News.

For more details on the 2007 MS Motorcycle Ride or to register, please go to http://www.ctfightsms.org/ or call (860) 714-2300, ext. 241.

 

7/3/07

 

CUTLINE: Longtime philanthropist and motorcycle enthusiast Peter Rich saddles up to his Harley-Davidson Road King Classic, Patriot model a limited edition model reserved for active duty military and veterans. Rich, who will be riding with State Senator Edith Prague, will be participating in the 2007 MS Motorcycle Ride, presented by TSI Harley Davidson/ Buell, for a seventh year on Sunday, July 22.  

CUTLINE: Storrs, Conn., native Peter Rich and State Senator Edith Prague, a resident of Columbia, Conn., saddle up in support of the 2006 MS Motorcycle Ride, which raised more than $35,000. The pair is featured on 2007 promotional materials and are already revvin’ up for the MS Motorcycle Ride, this year presented by TSI Harley-Davidson/Buell, located in Ellington.

Samantha Harrigan is a junior majoring in communications at the University of Connecticut. She is currently completing a public relations internship, to include 126 hours, with the National MS Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter. For more information on internship opportunities with the Greater Connecticut Chapter, please contact Karen E. Butler, Vice President of Communications, at kbutler@ctfightsMS.org.  

Karen E. Butler
Vice President of Communications
Greater Connecticut Chapter
tel +1.860.714.2300
cell +1.860.997.4487
 
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