Monday, March 25, 2013

The Other Side of a Motorcycle Rally

It's time for me to drop some names. Some events have transpired that you good people should be privy too. You won't hear tell of this in main stream media and it won't be on any docu-drama, made-for-Television mini series about Bikeweek. Once again, the powers of Good have been victorious. But I digress.

Jay Allen of The Broken Spoke owns and rides an ole Harley that is a tribute to The U.S. Army and all who have served in it. It was his dream to gather together four more motorcycles, each representing the other branches of the US Military. As a Champion for American Veterans, Jay Allen's dream turned into a project. May, 2012 at the 25th anniversary of Rolling Thunder in Washington D.C. five bikes were unveiled representing each of the five branches of our military. Space being limited, I can not tell you of each bike and the amazing people involved in their creation but I can tell you that each is a Tribute and worth learning about.

Rolling Thunder is the largest one day motorcycle event in the USA. Held annually in Washington DC. Founded by Mr. Walt Sides.  "Rolling Thunder’s mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Rolling Thunder has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country." Last yrs event was attended by an estimated 1.3 million people. Walt and his lovely wife, Laura have taken on the task of escorting these five tribute bikes around the country to events for the public to appreciate them and to bring awareness to the cause.

Russ Niedwick and his wonderful wife, Nikki Linn operate a non profit organization called Veterans Support Fund. They have "adopted" the men and women who live at the Veterans Home in Daytona Beach, Fla. Now, when  I say "adopted" I mean they care. Taking them to lunch and afternoon outings. Playing Santa and providing gifts to each one and helping with things such as prosthetic limbs. They know these Veterans all by name. It is truly a blessing to see how they care for our Nations Hero's.

On the 6st of March, 2013, two days before the beginning of Bikeweek, the above mentioned people did a great thing. Without pay or compensation, Without media attention or fanfare these people got together and set up the five tribute motorcycles for the viewing pleasure of the residence of the Veterans Home. These people took the time to have conversations and share stories with these Hero's. For several hours on a beautiful Florida afternoon these people gave of themselves the one true gift that our Veterans want and rightfully deserve. They gave of their time.

Of all the things that make it Bikeweek, The freaks and clowns, the traffic and concerts, the bars and the nightlife, the gathering of friends and the pasties, the people watching and the burn-outs, all of those things and more are possible because of those who came before us. Jay, Walt, Laura, Russ and Nikki and others understand the importance of what these men and women have done for our country. I consider myself blessed to have known them and I am proud to call them friends.

At the entrance to the Veterans Home in Daytona is a sign that reads. "The cost of Freedom is visible here"