Annual 9/11 tribute ride will honor New Haven officer

New Haven Police Capt. Anthony Duff will be a guest of honor at the 2019 CT United Ride Sept. 8. The ride, which organizers say is the state’s largest 9/11 tribute and largest motorcycle ride in New England, also is a fundraiser for fire and law enforcement-related causes.

Duff was shot and wounded in three places Aug. 12 while attempting to intervene in a New Haven shooting. He was off-duty at the time.

Ride Executive Director Fred Garrity said Duff would be recognized for his heroism, bravery and dedication to public safety during the ride’s opening ceremony. Motorcycle patrol officers from the New Haven Police Department will help lead the motorcade.

“While our annual CT United Ride pays tribute to the bravery of those lost on 9/11, and of those who continue to put their lives on the line each day to protect us, it is a really good thing to have in place to be able to recognize heroic acts of bravery like those of Captain Duff of the New Haven Police Department,” Garrity said. He noted the Duff had “without hesitation, risked his life for the safety of people he didn’t know.”

Duff was released from Yale-New Haven Hospital Aug. 22, and was greeted by rows of saluting officers as he stepped out of the building.

“You are a true hero to all who know you. Thank you for your extraordinary service,” said a dispatcher over the police radios as Duff stepped down the hospital’s driveway with family and colleagues at his side. “We are all wishing you the best of health and a speedy recovery. Thank you.”

New Haven Mayor Toni N. Harp also offered her congratulations and well-wishes.

“Our city rejoices,” Harp said after Duff left the hospital. “We are so proud.”

Duff was named the department’s public information officer in January. In his 24 years on the force, he also has served as the district manager for Dixwell, a field training officer and oversaw the internal affairs division and departmental records.

The 19 Annual CT United Ride will begin with an opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. at Norden Industrial Park, 10 Norden Place, Norwalk, and will feature the Connecticut Firefighters Pipe and Drum Corps, and a moment of silence where the Norwalk Fire Department will ring its bell 11 times. The motorcade starts 11:30 a.m. and will proceed down Route 136 to Route 33 through Westport, to Wilton Route 7, to Route 107 in Georgetown. It will then proceed to Route 58 in Redding, to Route 302 Bethel, to Newtown Route 25 through Monroe, to Main Street, Trumbull, to Old Town Road, to Park Avenue in Fairfield, continuing on Park Avenue through Bridgeport to Seaside Park, arriving at about 1:15 p.m.

The ride proceeds nonstop through 10 towns, with the riders escorted by police and emergency vehicles. In addition to the riders and spectators, more than 100 fire trucks will be placed along the route, with 24 aerial trucks holding 50-foot American flags over the roadway in each town.

Garrity said the ride attracts between 3,000 and 5,000 riders and 15,000 spectators along the route. Firefighter and law enforcement groups come from as far north as Maine and as far south as Virginia, as do other supporters not affiliated with emergency responders, Garrity said.

Registration is $30 per rider and $30 per passenger. Riders may sign up at a pre-ride gathering Saturday, Sept. 7, at Captain’s Cove Seaport from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration on Sunday begins at 8:30 a.m. at Norden Industrial Park, 10 Norden Place in Norwalk.