CHEERS to Bill McBride , who served for years on the Plattsburgh Intermunicipal Redevelopment Council, for a timely reminder at a recent public event. A ceremony was held recently to mark the occasion of the Air Force turning over control of its final parcels of land from Plattsburgh Air Force Base to Clinton County. Six speakers talked about the impact of PAFB on the community and about redevelopment efforts. As the ceremony was starting to move toward conclusion, McBride, who was in the front row of the audience, stood and asked if he could say something. The Air Force official in charge told him he had the floor. McBride asked for a moment of silence in memory of “the man who brought the Air Force to Plattsburgh, Clyde Lewis.” It was a touching moment — and right on target. No one in the North Country would be more closely associated with PAFB than Lewis, who not only lobbied for the Air Force to choose Plattsburgh but followed up with years of dedicated loyalty, publicly demonstrated by the testimonial dinners he helped host to honor Air Force personnel. Lewis died in February 2009. Though the base transfer would have been a devastating day for Lewis — as was the decision to shut PAFB down — he deserved a final salute.
CHEERS to Bob Cronin , who has been a one-man cyclone in his efforts, along with the cycling group Adirondack Garda, to raise money for the national Tour de Force effort. The Peru resident single-handedly raised $17,000 this year as part of $37,000 submitted by Adirondack Garda to the fundraiser, which was started in honor of two former New York State Police who were killed in the line of duty: Joe Longobardo and David Brinkerhoff. The Tour de Force ride started in Boston this September and ended at Ground Zero in New York City. This time, 200 riders from around the country participated, raising about $390,000, which will be used to help the families of police officers killed in the line of duty. Cronin raised the most of any participants. He was a member of a State Police Mobile Response team for 17 years, and the officers who died were members of the same type of SWAT unit. Cronin rides in their memory. He formed Adirondack Garda, which involves 11 other law-enforcement members from this area, who have ridden not only for Tour de Force but for locally based benefits, as well. Cronin and the other Garda members have exerted tremendous physical effort and shown energetic fundraising perseverance for several years now on the road with Tour de Force.
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