Ride to the Races: A Benefit for Captain Dowling

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HOUSTON, TX – “Lots of progress. Long road to go.”

Jacki Dowling is talking about her husband, HFD Captain Bill Dowling. Last May, Captain Dowling  was the courageous firefighter who was trapped fighting a deadly blaze near the Southwest freeway at Hillcroft. The fire claimed the lives of four firefighters that day. Since then, Dowling has undergone months of physical therapy and several surgeries.

Fellow firefighter Simon Hernandez says, “Bill has always been known to be fighter. Stubborn and does not give up and he’s definitely showing that right now.”

Dowling is not alone in his fight as support through out the community keeps pouring in. The latest charity event was the Ride to the Races which saw some 150 bikers travel some 22 miles down highway 288.

Jacki Dowling says, “Every time there’s an event, I’m amazed by the turnout , but I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in my life and it took everyone back, especially him. He was just really excited and very moved by it.”

Chris Lyons, a retired firefighter adds, “It’s just great to come down the freeway and see all these bikes here. You never know what you’re going to see.”

The piece that caught everyone’s attention on this day was the giant firefighter’s helmet.

Lyons says, “The big helmet is about 10 feet tall, 19 feet long, and 13’6″ wide.”

It was the perfect backdrop for pictures with Captain Dowling and his family. After all, a cause this big needs a symbol befitting the occasion.

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