Gill family helps Cranston students in late son's name

The Cranston Herald ·

On March 25, 2007 the family of Ronald A. Gill Jr. could not have imagined how their life would change in an instant, nor could they have imagined the role they would have in changing the lives of so many young adults heading off to college over the next decade and beyond.

A tragic accident during a routine Coast Guard training mission took the life of Ronnie Gill more than 10 years ago, leaving behind his wife and their unborn daughter, all of his family, friends and fellow Coasties.

In the years since, his family and friends have raised nearly $300,000 in scholarship funds through the PS3 Ronald A. Gill Jr. Memorial Foundation ( to help local students afford the rising costs of college tuition. Through multiple annual events each year, monies are raised and scholarships are gifted.

Sunday’s 10th annual Ronnie’s Ride bike run brought at least 300 motorcyclists to Cranston High School West, where the kickoff takes place each year. The weather was sunny as Cranston Police Officer Peter LeClerc welcomed this year’s participants and gave a rundown of the safety rules for the 100 mile, round-trip ride, which would be accompanied by police officers from Cranston, Providence, East Providence, Bristol, Pawtucket, North Providence and Narragansett, as the highways were closed down for the ride. Mayor Allan Fung offered greetings and gratitude from the City of Cranston, having attended the Foundation’s events throughout his time as mayor of the city.

“It’s amazing that ten years have flown by so quickly,” said Fung. “Year after year this ride has grown to what it is today and it’s heartwarming to see the entire community standing behind Ronnie and his family after this tragic loss. We will continue to remember him in our hearts and we forever thank the Gill family for all they do to give back to future generations in Ronnie’s memory.”

Ronnie Gill’s wife, Ambur, and daughter Gracie, along with his mother, Rosemary, placed prayer beads on the flags which accompany them on the 100-mile run as the bikes prepared to leave. It took a full five minutes for every motorcycle to ride out of the parking lot.

The bikers headed down to Scarborough beach for a memorial ceremony by a bench that is there in Ronnie’s honor, and to the Veteran’s Cemetery in Exeter, and back to Cranston, where a dinner was held, complete with raffles and a silent auction, at the Cranston Country Club.

Ron Gill Sr. thanked guests for coming and supporting to this year’s run, noting that he wished there was no need for any of the events, and no need for anyone’s support.

“I hate that we have to do this two times a year, but we do it to keep Ronnie’s memory and his legacy alive,” he said. “It’s not just for Rosemary, myself and Jonathan, but it’s for Gracie, and for Ambur too. We just want to say thank you to everybody for your continued support.”

The next Gill Foundation event is the 12th annual Golf Tournament, to be held at the Cranston Country Club in July. For more information, visit the website at