Vallery awarded top bike messenger award

The International Federation of Bike Messenger Association's Markus Cook Memorial Award (MCA) is awarded annually for services to the international messenger community. The MCA was conceived as a way for the international messenger community to thank it's most tireless workers, with the recipient of this year's MCA being Jean Andre Vallery of Sarasota, Florida.

Vallery is being honored for his work with the Bicycle Messenger Emergency Fund (BMEF) and will be awarded the MCA on October 18 at a meeting of the Sarasota Bicycle/Pedestrian/Trail Advisory Committee in the Sarasota County Administration Building.

The MCA was inaugurated in 1998 to honour the memory of Markus Cook (aka Fur), a key figure in the San Francisco messenger scene, and one of the leaders of the international messenger community. His great dream was to bring the Cycle Messenger World Championships to San Francisco in 1996, but never lived to see his dream realised. He died January 3, 1996, aged 35, of an accidental heroin overdose.

In 1994 Cook came up with the idea of a fund for bicycle messengers, believing that a few dollars from each courier per week could be siphoned into "some kind of emergency fund thing." From there the fund was born with its intention to strengthen the messenger community in a variety of ways. Vallery's work with this fund means he continues a tradition in an industry that has been described as the most hazardous in North America.

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