Larry Davanzo has been volunteering with the Smart Ride, an annual two-day bike ride in South Florida that raises funds for local HIV-related non-profits, for the last 17 years.
Back then he was living in California and would fly to South Florida to volunteer as a member of the crew.
For the Smart Ride’s 10th anniversary he decided to finally ride the 165-mile trek from Miami to Key West. He also served as the rider rep manager for four years.
“I'm old enough to have experienced losing my friends and acquaintances through the '80s and early '90s. I lost a partner in 1993 from AIDS,” he said. “So it was definitely something that was close to heart.”
He moved back to Florida in 2014 and now lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband. He looks forward to riding this year.
“I keep saying that maybe it's my last and then you do it and the experience is just so wonderful,” he said. “Seeing what that money can do, it just drives you to do it again.”
The ride has raised almost $15 million since its inception.
Larry is also a founding member of Floatarama, an annual LGBT boat parade now in its fourth year. The organization also raises funds for at-risk LGBTQ youth.
“I was never really an at-risk youth. But you know, I went through trauma as a gay youth, either being bullied, or afraid of who I was, and not really facing it,” he said.
He likes the fact the money raised by the organization isn’t being spent on overhead and administration and the event relies on volunteers. Last year they donated $50,000 to their at-risk LGBTQ+ youth fund managed by the Our Fund Foundation.
Professionally, he worked in technology and retired from Wells Fargo in 2016. These days he continues to work part time.
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