Washington Post – May 19, 2010
Barred by law from uttering his slain comrades’ names in public, retired CIA officer Rob Richer recently hit upon a novel idea for memorializing the seven agency operatives killed in last year’s suicide bombing near Khost, Afghanistan: He would climb on his mountain bike and ride across the country in their honor.
But the 56-year-old ex-Marine had no sooner posted the itinerary for the 2,500-mile odyssey on his Web site than his phone began lighting up. Dozens of people, many of them strangers, were calling to ask if they could participate, either through donations or by joining him on the journey. Retired intelligence officers, soldiers, cops, even students wanted to sign up. (Full Story)
Fox News Channel – Pedaling for Patriots story 9-6-2010
WTTG-TV Fox Five Washington, DC Story 9/6/2010:
Retired CIA officer to ride for donations
The Associated Press
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A retired CIA officer is set to embark on a cross-country bicycle ride to raise awareness and money to support the children of agency officers killed in the line of duty.
Rob Richer retired from the CIA in 2005 as the second highest ranking member of the agency’s clandestine services after spending much of his career overseas in Yemen, Tunisia, Nepal, Jordan and throughout the Middle East.
Richer will be joined on the roughly 45-day ride by his wife, Kim. It will begin Sept. 11 in Jacksonville, ending in San Diego, Calif.
Richer says he wants to raise awareness about the sacrifices of his fallen colleagues, who live largely in the shadows due to the secretive nature of the work. All funds will go to the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.
Rob & Kim appeared on WJXT-TV Friday morning 9/10/10:
PRESS RELEASE 9-10-10
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cross-Country CIA Memorial Bike Ride Begins Tomorrow 9-11-10
Two former Presidents Commend Pedaling for Patriots
Jacksonville, FL: Former senior CIA Official Rob Richer and his wife Kim are about to start pedaling their way across America. The Richer’s will depart Jacksonville Beach, Florida on a 3200 mile cross country bicycle ride dubbed “Pedaling for Patriots” to raise funds for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation.
Both former President George H. W. Bush (a former CIA Director) and former President George W. Bush have lent their support to the effort. In a letter to the Richer’s, the first President Bush said: “It is fitting that your “Pedaling for Patriots” journey begin on September 11th – a date that reminds all Americans not only of the need for constant vigilance, but also of the sacrifices made by the men and women of the CIA whose life’s mission is to keep America safe.”
President George W. Bush wrote to Rob and Kim: “I appreciate your efforts to honor the brave CIA officers who have sacrificed for the freedoms we all hold dear.” He went on to say: “Nine years after September 11, our safety from terrorism on our soil is a tribute to the dedicated men and women in our intelligence services and the military who work day and night to defend our great land.”
The full letters, which are being released for the first time today, are available here.
At the time of his retirement from the Agency in 2005, Richer was the second ranking member of CIA’s clandestine service – the people who spend much of their careers living under cover overseas, stealing secrets and recruiting spies on behalf of the United States. During his career, Richer served in such places as Yemen, Tunisia, Nepal, Jordan and Oman.
Kim, who like Rob is a former Marine, raised their three children largely overseas under challenging conditions – the kids didn’t even know where their father worked until they were teenagers.
Like many from the Agency family, the Richer’s were rocked on December 30, 2009 when a suicide bomber killed seven Agency officials in Khost, Afghanistan. For a relatively small organization, the loss of so many colleagues in one blow hit hard. Richer had worked with several of those killed including Jennifer Matthews (45), a single mother of three. Kim was felt a special affinity to the families involved. “This could have been me left behind and my children left behind,” she said.
Often when CIA officers die in the line of duty their identities must remain shielded due to the nature of their past work. The families they leave behind can face enormous challenges.
As a result of the tragedy, the Richers determined to help raise awareness of the service and sacrifice of his colleagues and to raise money for the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, which provides scholarships and other assistance to the families of the fallen. The need is growing. Twelve additional stars were added to the Memorial Wall at CIA’s Headquarters at an annual ceremony this June. Twenty two stars have been added since September, 2001. Each star represents a fallen officer.
Rob and Kim will start their journey at the Atlantic Ocean near Beach Boulevard at Route A1A in Jacksonville Beach shortly after 7 AM on September 11th. Their ride is scheduled to end on October 27 when they dip their front wheels in the Pacific Ocean at the historic Hotel del Coronado in Coronado, CA. Along the way they will be blogging, talking to civic groups, and making media appearances to build understanding and support for the people Richer calls: “the finest patriots you may never know.”
Through their website PedalingforPatriots.com, Rob and Kim are soliciting individual and corporate donations which go directly to the CIA Officers Memorial Foundation, a 501(c) 3 charitable organization.
“Pedaling for Patriots is our way of going from Khost to coast – giving back a little — to those who have given their all for our country.” Richer said.
Interview of Rob on NewsRealBlog
CNN.COM Features Pedaling for Patriots
Rob & Kim Interviewed Prior to the Start of Pedaling for Patriots
WAFB-TV Baton Rouge — Interview with Rob & Kim 9-22-10
10-18-10 ABC15 Phoenix Interview with Rob & Kim