The Art Westfall Foundation recently honored Big Nick’s Ride for the Fallen with its “Best Philanthropic Act” award. The inspirational, annual motorcycle ride from Bourne to Yarmouth to honor Cape Codders who have died serving our country since 9/11 is sponsored by the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Memorial Fund of The Cape Cod Foundation.
The ride, now in its 8th year, was started to honor U.S. Marine Nicholas Xiarhos who was killed in Afghanistan in 2009 while going to the rescue of his fellow Marines in combat. This year’s event honored 13 other local veterans who have died in military service since the September 11 attacks in 2001.
United States Army Staff Sergeant Alicia A. Birchett of Mashpee
United States Army Private First Class Paul E. Conlon of Mashpee
United States Navy Captain Gerald F. DeConto of Sandwich
United States Army Sergeant Alexander H. Fuller of Barnstable
United States Army Sergeant Matthew R. Gallagher of Falmouth
United States Navy SEAL Kevin A. Houston of Barnstable
United States Marine Captain Eric A. Jones of Mashpee
United States Marine Private First Class Daniel A.C. McGuire of Mashpee
United States Army Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino of Bourne
United States Army Private First Class Clinton E. Springer II of Bourne
United States Army Sergeant Zachary D. Tellier of Falmouth
United States Army Sergeant Mark R. Vecchione of Eastham
Commander Francis T. Williams of Sandwich
Big Nick’s Ride, held in July, raised more than $60,000. The memorial fund provides financial assistance to local military families, wounded warriors, Gold Star families and members of law enforcement. It also supports numerous programs for veterans throughout the community, including Cape Wags for Tags, a free pet adoption service, the saltwater fishing event Operational Reel Heroes, and therapeutic horseback riding.
“We work hard all year long to bring people together to honor our fallen heroes,” said Steven Xiarhos, Nicholas’s father and organizer of the event. “We are deeply touched to receive this special award and recognition from an organization that is also helping members of the Cape community.”
The Art Westfall Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to Cape Cod residents in the service industry. It was established more than 20 years ago to honor Arthur Westfall, the former general manager of Pufferbellies club in Hyannis. At age 49, Westfall was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He did not have health insurance. His family and friends joined together to celebrate his 50th birthday with a benefit, the first “Artie’s Party” and promised to continue to assist others who find themselves in similar circumstances through a foundation established in his name.
Anyone interested in donating to the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Memorial Foundation Fund can contact The Cape Cod Foundation at 508.790.3040 or donate online at capecodfoundation.org.