9th annual Mike and Heidi Victory Ride/Walk keeps couple’s memory alive

OAKFIELD, Maine – The 9th annual memorial ride for Mike Kitchen and Heidi Pratt took place Saturday, July 9, with about 40 motorcycles gathered at the Oakfield Community Center.

The Mike and Heidi Community Fund Board of Directors made presentations to three local organizations.Donations of $5,000 were presented to Ark Animal Sanctuary of Houlton, Oakfield Pines park in Oakfield and Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. 

“We were so excited to be able to make these three generous donations,” explained Ken Bustard, board president. “This past year, we received a phenomenal donation of $10,000 in memory of Christine Delgrego.”

Delgrego was Heidi Pratt’s cousin, who lived in Connecticut, but attended several of the rides. She died last year from ALS. After soliciting input from the family, the Board was overwhelmingly unanimous in adding $5,000 from its account to make these three donations.

“These donations honor not just Mike and Heidi’s memory, but Christine’s as well,” Bustard said. “Mike and Heidi had a special connection to ARK Animal Sanctuary, having adopted their cat  Monkey, who perished the same day as they did.”

Kitchen and Pratt were asleep in their 331 Oakfield-Smyrna Road home on Sept. 23, 2013, when an individual entered their home, killed the couple and set the home ablaze. He was convicted of the crime in 2017 and sentenced to life in prison.

“The Oakfield Pines, while Mike and Heidi never got to appreciate it, they would be over the moon to think funds in their name have helped it continue on,” Bustard said. “We now have $15,000 endowed with NMCC for future scholarships.”

Bustard said the board expects to be able to increase that to at least $20,000 after its final event in 2023, providing an annual scholarship into perpetuity.

“The group plans to honor Christine Delgrego on a special plaque to be placed at NMCC, recognizing various individuals and businesses who have made this journey possible,” he said. 

Riders gathered at 10 a.m. for a safety briefing by Joe McLaughlin. There was no law enforcement escort this year due to scheduling conflicts.

Various members of Widows Sons, a Masonic Riding Association, assisted at the several intersections. Members of both Crossroads Chapter from Newport and Men of Tyre from northern Maine assisted.

Pine State Motorcycle Club had the strongest representation, with approximately 20 riders. The United Vets and Indian Motorcycle Riders were represented.

The group took  a one-hour ride through Mount Chase, Patten and Island Falls. Riders returned to the Oakfield Community Center to a generous spread of hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and deserts.

Following the meal and presentations, the day finished with a lively auction. The day’s events resulted in approximately $7,000 after expenses.  

“This boost to our account will carry us into the final year,” explained Bustard.  “We are planning a very special event, recognizing individuals and clubs who have been with us this entire 10 year journey.  We will finish our ‘final ride’ in style.” 

OAKFIELD, Maine — July 9, 2022 — Paul Suiter (left), Heidi’s son and board member, presents a $5,000 check to Dottie Martin, to increase the scholarship endowment at NMCC during the Mike and Heidi Memorial Ride event in Oakfield (Photo courtesy of Ken Bustard)

OAKFIELD, Maine — July 9, 2022 — Paul Suiter (right) presents a $5,000 check to Diane White of Oakfield to be used at Oakfield Pines park at the Mike and Heidi Memorial Ride event in Oakfield.  (Photo courtesy of Ken Bustard)

OAKFIELD, Maine — July 9, 2022 — Kimberly Pye displays a planter during the auction of the Mike and Heidi Memorial Ride event in Oakfield. (Photo courtesy of Ken Bustard)

OAKFIELD, Maine — July 9, 2022 — Ken Bustard, assisted by his wife Pearl, draws a winning ticket for raffle baskets at the 9th annual Mike and Heidi Memorial Ride event in Oakfield. (Photo courtesy of Ken Bustard)

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