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Memorial ride will help preserve park

By Sarah M. Corigliano

Assistant Managing Editor

HAMPDEN To honor the memory nine-year-old Devon Rauscher, and to preserve a town park for everyone to enjoy, community members have organized the Rauscher Harley Davidson Scavenger Hunt Ride for Aug. 27, beginning at Memorial Park in Hampden.

The ride, organized by Hampden Memorial Park Project, a non-profit group of volunteers who want to improve Memorial Park for the town, will help pay for improvements and, the group hopes, a spray park for children.

Last week, former Hampden resident Sarah Gaer, a volunteer with the Park Project, told The Reminder that so far other fund-raising efforts have allowed for some small-scale renovations at the park, including improving the bathrooms and putting up a new sign for the park.

One fund-raiser, a candy bar sale, is on-going. Candy bars for the Memorial Park Project can be found throughout town.

"Hampden has been amazing and supportive [to the Rouscher family]," Gaer said of the response to the family and to the Park Project so far.

Devon Rouscher died in a car accident in February 2004. The Rauscher family Devon's mother Sue, father Ron, and brother Grant want to preserve the park in her memory.

"Devon and her mom and brother used to go to Memorial Park all the time," Gaer explained. So, in Devon's memory, she said the family decided they wanted to improve the park for everyone's enjoyment, especially children who live in town.

The motorcycle scavenger ride will begin at Memorial Park on Main Street in Hampden and riders will travel in a group to TSI in Ellington, CT, then break up for a scavenger hunt to four different Harley-Davidson dealerships. The ride will end at the Cabot Street Club in Chicopee.

At the club there will be a grand prize for the scavenger hunt, as well as a raffle and refreshments. Tickets are $25 per bike or $15 for just the party.

Auction and raffle prizes have been sponsored by TSI; Gengras; Tibby's Harley Davidson; Easthampton Harley Davidson; Theodore's Booze, Blues and Barbeque; Leone's; Hampden House Caf; Caf Lebanon; Ochoa Day Spa; Dunkin' Donuts; Workout Plus; Grog Shoppe; Red Rocket Records; Pizza Shoppe and Mezzanotte Pizzeria.

While registration for the ride is available the day of the event, organizers would like riders to call for tickets so they can plan for the right number of participants.

For information or for tickets, call Gaer at 860-896-9295. Donations to the Hampden Memorial Park Project are tax deductible. Their 501C3 number is 20-2034266.