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The sendoff dinner for two fellows who’ll pedal from fallen soldier Jesse Williams’ grave in Santa Rosa to Ground Zero in New York City is today (Wednesday, June 8) at the Veterans Memorial Building.

This is Sonoma County’s chance to meet Kevin Mincio, who was working as a Wall Street banker on Sept. 11, 2001, and witnessed the terrorist attack close-up. Soon afterward he enlisted in the Army, became an infantryman and shipped out to Iraq.

There he met and became tight friends with Santa Rosa’s Jesse Williams, who was killed in combat in 2007. Mincio has since fulfilled his commitment to the Army and founded the Team Jesse Foundation to raise money to help the families of fallen GIs with college and other expenses.

From 5 to 8 p.m. today, Mincio and friend Matt Sauri will break bread with locals in preparation for the start of their cross-country journey tomorrow. They intend to arrive at Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Also at this afternoon’s kick-off dinner, the cyclists will honor local  Gold Star Moms who have lost a child to military service.

You can learn more about the dinner and the ride at teamjesse.org.

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