Newtown Attorney Leads Cyclists On Ride To Washington For Sandy Hook Victims

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

Cohen and Wolf lawyer Monte Frank was distraught after the December massacre in his hometown of Newtown. He had a hard time sleeping and wanted to do something to help.

Frank wanted to combine his passion for cycling and skills as a lawyer, as well as press Congress to introduce laws to reduce gun violence. The idea of organizing a bike ride to Washington came "in the middle of the night," said Frank, who knew people who died in the school school shooting.

His daughter had previously graduated from Sandy Hook Elementary School. She had one of the teachers who was killed, Vicki Soto, as a long-term substitute teacher in third grade.

Frank, a former president of the Danbury Bar Association, is a commercial litigator and handles business, real estate, municipal and construction cases. He became an avid cyclist as an undergraduate at Cornell — he also received his JD from the Ivy League school — and he's been involved in riding ever since.

"Our objective is trying to raise awareness and humanize the tragedy…so they can enact meaningful legislation," Frank said last week.

'Rolling Rally'

There were, officially, 26 riders who made the 400-mile journey, one for every educator and child who died in the shooting.

In fact, the team called itself Team 26. There were 23 men and three women, ages ranging from 19 to 60.

There were five riders from Newtown. There was a former NCAA champion, U.S. and Canadian national team members, a masters national champion and state and regional champions. Frank rides for a team called Verge, which is a masters team that races all over New England and Canada.

The riders, accompanied by three vans carrying six support crew members, started out on Saturday, March 9. For the first leg, to Ridgefield, they were accompanied by Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, Congressman Jim Himes and Chris McDonnell, whose daughter, Grace, died in the shooting.