Jonathon Cote was a U.S. Army veteran from Western New York who was taken hostage, along with four others, while working as a private security contractor in Iraq on Nov. 16, 2006. He was held captive/missing for 523 days before his body was found and flown home to Buffalo on April 28, 2008.
Family and friends have organized a motorcycle ride and fundraising event in his honor. The sixth annual ride will be Sunday, Aug. 17, to raise money for an annual $1,000 scholarship for a student of Williamsville North High School in Jon's memory. Any additional funds will be donated to WNY Heroes in order to help them serve and support WNY military heroes and families. Over the past five years, the event has donated $9,500 to WNY Heroes, $3,000 to www.FreedomIsNotFree.com, and awarded $3,500 in scholarships.
Sign-in for the memorial ride will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in front of Williamsville North at the horseshoe entrance on Dodge Road, near Cote's memorial tree and plaque, and will be followed by an informational rider meeting. The cost is $20 per driver and $10 per passenger. Each person will receive a lapel pin and vehicle decal for participating, a free meal, and a pamphlet with information about Cote and the event. The ride leaves the school at 1 p.m. on a scenic 1.5-hour route that will end about 2:30 p.m. at the De La Casa restaurant (1437 Ridge Road, Lewiston). All makes and models of motorcycles are welcome.
Cote's cousins, the Mombrea Brothers Band, will perform. There will be food, drinks, prize basket raffles, a 50/50 raffle, and silent auctions. This event grows every year in size with 150 motorcycles participating.