Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson and former MPD Chief Dave Cutaia (now of ESPN) organize ride
By DONNA BETH WEILENMAN
The current Contra Costa County District Attorney and a former Martinez police chief who now works for ESPN have teamed to organize the inaugural “Ride to Remember” bicycle ride Saturday morning as a remembrance of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
In addition, it will raise money for the 100 Club of Contra Costa County that supports the families of firefighters and police officers who have died while doing their jobs, as well as for Contra Costa Kops for Kids Organization.
Patterned after an organization that began in Detroit Michigan, in 1950, the 100 Club of Contra Costa County was formed in 1984 by residents who were concerned for the welfare of survivors of deceased Contra Costa County first responders.
It got its name from the Michigan automobile dealer’s writing to 100 friends, asking them to donate. He received a 100 percent positive response.
The Contra Costa County organization presents donations to the surviving spouse of the fallen responder within 48 hours of his or her death, and helps surviving children with college expenses until they are 18.
Contra Costa Kops for Kids, formed in 1995, gives area youth athletic, educational and social programs that help discourage them from gang participation, violence and juvenile delinquency.
The organization is run by an all-volunteer group of active and retired law enforcement officers from agencies that range from local to federal levels and who either live or work in Contra Costa County.
Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson and former Martinez Chief of Police Dave Cutaia spoke at the Oct. 7 Martinez City Council meeting to invite officials and residents to participate in the rides that ard 25 and 50 miles long. “This is Mark Peterson’s idea,” Cutaia said, saying he is hoping residents and visitors will get on their bicycles and join in on the rides that day.
Cutaia is now known as ESPN’s college football rules expert, a job he’s had for three years. He’s also been a referee in the Arena Football League and an official for the former Pac-10.
But he was Martinez Police Chief from 1999 to 2007, and Cutaia had a 35-year law enforcement career. For him, the Ride to Remember is personal. “I was at the scene when Tom Tarantino died,” he said.
Tarantino, who was a Martinez Police officer, is of the 11 who are being remembered during the ride as members of Martinez Police Department who lost their lives in the line of duty. He was shot and killed April 21, 1973, by the driver of a disabled vehicle he stopped to investigate.
Also remembered from Martinez is Sgt. Paul Starzyk who was shot and killed Sept. 6, 2008, when responding to a report of shots fired at a Martinez hair salon.
Riders will also pedal in memory of David Haynes and Brad Moody of Richmond Police Department; Ray Giacomelli and Larry Lasater of Richmond Police, Ron Wiley of Richmond Fire Department; Matt Burton and Scott Desmond of Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and Kenyon Youngstrom of California Highway Patrol.
Those who want to ride may register online at www.Active.com.
The rides start and end at the Martinez Marina. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Saturday and rides start an hour later, at 8 a.m. Those who participate get a free T-shirt and water bottle. Cost to make the 25 mile trip is $50, and to ride the longer distance is $70.