Thursday, November 7, 2019

American Legion Riders Chapter Rides Sober

Oneonta, New York, USA (November 7, 2019) — Chris Chase, son and grandson of veterans, just wants to make sure that all veterans can enjoy the ride safely.

“We were concerned that many of our motorcycle runs involved a lot of alcohol,” said Chase, assistant director of Oneonta Post 259’s American Legion Riders. “We’d stop at a Legion, people would have a few beers. And then we’d stop at the next one and they’d do the same. We don’t have anything against alcohol, just against drinking and driving.”

So last fall, Chase unveiled the “Dry Run” concept, where the Legion’s annual rides would all be alcohol-free. “The first time we did it was the 2018 Foliage Run,” he said. “And we got some flack. But Ken Gracey at the Red Knights 44 Motorcycle Club (a firefighter and EMS motorcycle club) told me to stick to my guns.”

Charlotte and Chris Chase pioneered the alochol-free “Dry Run” at the Oneonta chapter of the American Legion. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)

The Legion Riders, a branch of the American Legion, uses motorcycle rides to raise funds for local and national charities. “We’re motorcycle enthusiasts, and like to say we love our community, vets and pets,” said Chase.

Though not a veteran himself, Chase is eligible for the Legion Riders as the son of Alvin Chase Jr., a Vietnam-era veteran, and grandson of Alvin Chase Sr., a World War II veteran.

And though a few riders grumbled, Chase was surprised at how many came out in support of the Dry Run.

“We saw a lot of riders who hadn’t come with us before because they were concerned with the alcohol use, now they’ve started riding with us,” he said. “The Red and Blue Knights, older riders and responsible folks – we gained people who love the idea!”

In addition to new riders, Chase said they’ve also seen an increase in sponsorship for their rides, and have started working with the Oneonta Police Department to escort the veterans taking the Leatherstocking Honor Flight out of the Albany International Airport.

“It’s usually our coldest ride, but when you see those veterans being honored during the ceremony, it doesn’t matter how cold it is, it warms you right up.”

Chase had patches made, and since then, all of their six annual rides have been dry. “It forces us to get creative,” said his wife Charlotte. “But the fun part is finding places that don’t serve alcohol.”

They’ve stopped for ice cream and at scenic spots, as well as the motorcycle safety track. “That was awesome,” he said. “We got to get out there and go really fast.”

They still stop to see their fellow veterans at other Legions along the route, but pledge to abstain from buying alcohol at the bar.

In addition to promoting safety, Chase also wanted to raise awareness of drug and alcohol abuse among veterans, as well as the drinking culture among bikers.

“We’re working with LEAF Inc. to write educational materials about dry runs,” he said. “We want to change that perception about bikers.”

“I am so happy with what Chris is doing,” said Julie Dostal, LEAF executive director. “With veterans, motorcycle deaths account for 38 percent of deaths by motor vehicle accidents. With this data, it’s very clear that the Oneonta Legion Riders are taking the safest stance possible to keep our veterans with us longer.

“They’re a treasure, and they deserve to be treated as such.”

LEAF was the beneficiary of this year’s Fall Foliage Fun. “We were honored,” said Dostal. “And I hope that the Dry Runs will catch on across the state and go national.”

The patch isn’t just for American Legion Riders. “Any motorcycle club can use it,” Chase said. “We’re putting together a website that will have the logo and promotional materials that they can use to promote their own Dry Runs.”

He’s shipped patches as far away as California, and when the Dry Run website goes live, motorcycle clubs will be able to chose which charity gets the proceeds from the sale of the patches.

“We want to keep growing it because we know it will make a difference,” he said. “Statically, we’ve already saved a life.”

SOURCE: Otsego County Daily Newspaper

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Sunday, September 29, 2019

Son takes over reins of Freedom Fuel to help veterans

Farmington, New Hampshire, USA (September 29, 2019) — Some 200 Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association members gathered Saturday to participate in a charity ride to benefit Freedom Fuel, a nonprofit that helps veterans in need heat their homes.

Freedom Fuel was founded by the late Michael Dutile, who served in the Coast Guard and had a soft spot for those who served. On Saturday, Dutile’s son, Kevin, of the fifth generation to work for Dutile and Sons Oil Company in Laconia, had some big shoes to fill.

John Hutchinson, left, chapter commander of Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 5-2, and chapter member Ray Dore Jr., offer a handshake to Kevin Dutile, right, who has assumed operations of Freedom Fuel, a nonprofit founded by his late father that provides emergency heating assistance to veterans. Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent

Dutile explained Freedom Fuel had not even obtained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status when his dad died at age 66 on Easter 2018, and then his mother, “Ricci,” his dad’s high school sweetheart, died at 64, on the following Fourth of July.

He credits his former father-in-law, Gregg Waugh, with getting the program up and running and giving him time to grieve. An Air Force vet who went on to pilot airliners for American Airlines for 30 years, Waugh has a similar desire to help those who serve. “Unfortunately, many of the guys are too proud to come forward,” Dutile said of how challenging it can be to get assistance to those genuinely in need.

Freedom Fuel makes arrangements for 100 gallons of fuel oil to be delivered to vets who are facing the choice of having to heat their home or pay for a vehicle repair for example, Dutile said. The charity serves the entire state and has helped some vets in neighboring Massachusetts.

“It’s meant to give them a push up the hill. They’re either out of fuel or are going to be,” he said. Freedom Fuel will make arrangements to have fuel delivered to a needy vet’s home for whatever source of heat they use, whether it be oil, propane or wood-pellet-like products.

Dutile's paternal grandmother went into labor during a February blizzard and his grandfather knew the only vehicle that would make it up the steep hill to the hospital was a fully loaded oil truck. “The family always said he was born in an oil truck,” Dutile said.

Dutile’s wife, Rebekah, recounted that even after her father-in-law Michael Dutile became ill, his desire to help those in need remained strong. “Even when he was home on the couch, he must have spent four hours talking a woman through how to get her furnace started,” she said.

“Mike was a great guy. He was all in for veterans and his son, Kevin, who has taken over the company, is as great as he was,” said Ray Dore Jr., a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, who served six years in the Marine Corps.

John Hutchinson of Weare, commander of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 5-2, announced shortly before the group started its 2.5-hour ride around Lake Winnipesaukee, that a $2,000 donation was being made to Freedom Fuel.

Dore told the hundreds of bikers who gathered at the Hawg’s Pen Cafe in Farmington for the charity ride that Michael Dutile’s legacy is assuring that no veteran is ever cold.

Donations to Freedom Fuel can be made online at www.dutileoil.net or by calling the Messer Street office.

SOURCE: New Hampshire Union Leader

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Monday, September 9, 2019

12th Annual Mesa Poker Run

Grand Junction, Colorado, USA (September 9, 2019) — The military may say, boots to the ground, well, this event is rubber to the road, for a good cause. More than 50 riders are benefiting our troops and veterans, by donating some bucks and driving their bikes.


The poker run is to help pay postage for care packages to the military based all over the world. Sure bikers enjoy the scenery from the ride, but the real reason they do it, is to show their support.



Source: Western Slope

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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Poker run raises money for Disabled American Veterans

Brookings, South Dakota, USA (September 1, 2019) — Hundreds of motorcyclists took off for the 727th Disabled American Veterans charity poker run. Bikers started in Brookings and rode the 160 mile route for the poker run.

“The run started 15 years ago. The 727th was a National Guard unit that deployed to Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom. When we came back we wanted to do something for the community that supported us while we were deployed. So we came up with the charity run idea,” poker run co-chair Bob Foster said.


Last year, the poker run raised $42,000. This year they hope to raise even more money to help more disables veterans in South Dakota.

“The money we raise here goes to support the hospital transportation network. It’s a network of 27 vans across the state of South Dakota that helps vets get to the VA,” Foster said.

Which is why organizers say they’re grateful for the support.


“I cannot say enough about the community and the support across the state of South Dakota that has been for this event,” Foster said.

“I tip my hat to them and with Bob leading the charge here, we’re going to help many more veterans, so we thank you,” Gene Murphy with Disabled American Veterans said.

Not including this year’s donations, the poker run has raised over $225,000 since starting 15 years ago.

SOURCE: Keloland News

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Veteran drops off long lost military medals to family

Baraboo, Wisconsin, USA (August 6, 2019) — A collection of military medals lost over time is now back where it belongs. The “shadow box” was found for sale for $99 in a thrift shop in Florida. John Hilfirty, an Air Force veteran from North Carolina, embarked on a personal mission to get the box back home to Wisconsin.

Hilfirty says his friend in Pensacola, Florida came across the shadow box and posted a picture of it on Facebook. The box contained number medals and honors as well as a name plate.


“It immediately touched me, so I told him to go back and buy it,” said Hilfirty.

The box belongs to United States Air Force Senior Staff Sergeant Edward Holloway. Holloway served for more than 20 years in the Air Force from 1970-1991. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2005 due to cancer. His shadow box got lost after his death.

“He loved being in the service, it was really who he was,” said Heather Breunig, Holloway’s niece.

When Hilfirty came across the box, he decided to track down Holloway’s family.

“So we went to work using Google and Facebook,” he said. “We were able to track down his father’s obituary and we started pulling names out of that,”

His research led him to Breunig who lives in Baraboo.

“He didn’t have children. I am his niece but he treated me like a daughter,” she said.

Breunig received a Facebook message from Hilfirty, but Breunig was skeptical and ignored his message. But Hilfirty wouldn’t give up. He reached out to her adult children which caught her attention. Breunig finally decided to trust her instincts.

“I have a really big heart and I like to think there is good people in the world and I believe this is the real deal,” she said.

After about a month of messaging online, Hilfirty decided to make the trip to Wisconsin to drop off the shadow box in person. That meeting took place at the Municipal building in Baraboo on Monday.

“I have (my own) shadow box, it’s very similar so I would expect…I would hope that my family would want to keep that as a memento,” said Hilfirty.

Hilfirty and several of his friends from the “Fire and Iron Motorcycle Club” went on a cross-country trip and made a special stop in Baraboo to drop off the shadow box.

“You’re an angel, my friend,” Breunig said during an emotional hug.

“I got a surprise for you,” said Hilfirty. “You got a surprise?” responded Breunig. “I bet I know what it is!”

“I don’t know the guy but I can tell his service was exemplary,” said Hilfirty. “He was willing to write a blank check and cover that check with his life to give us the freedoms to do the things that we do,”

“It kind of feels like I’m hugging him, even though he’s been gone since 2005,” Breunig said holding the shadow box. “Thank you. All of you, thank you so much. That’s not even the right words. Like how do you say thank you? I know. You are all my family now, how about that?”

“It’s a warm and fuzzy feel-good moment that I am going to remember for the rest of my life,” added Hilfirty. “I couldn’t ask for a better ending,”

SOURCE: WMTV

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Driver that killed 7 bikers was high

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (August 1, 2019) — The driver charged in connection with a New Hampshire crash that killed seven motorcyclists was high on drugs and was reaching for a drink when the accident occurred, according to a report obtained by the Boston Globe.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report says 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy tested positive after the crash for "an unspecified drug," either a narcotic or an amphetimine. The report said the drug made him incapable of driving safety.


The National Transportation Safety Board issued a prelminary report last week summarizing the details behind the June 21 crash in which a pickup truck driven by Zhukovskyy crashed into the bikers in Randolph. The report affirmed early reports that Zhukovskyy crossed the center of the road and collided with the bikers.

Related | Ride for the Fallen 7 this weekend 

Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide. Officials say Zhukovskyy's license should have been suspended because of a drunken driving arrest.

Also last week, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey confirmed an investigation into Westfield Transportation, which operated the truck.

Investigators said Zhukovskyy's Dodge pickup truck was towing a flatbed trailer as it traveled west on Route 2 in Randolph when it crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with the group of 10 motorcyclists, members of the Massachusetts chapter of the JarHeads Motorcycle Club.

Zhukovskyy, an immigrant from the Ukraine, has a lengthy record of incidents on the road. He was arrested on OUI charges in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, and again last month in Connecticut, when he was allegedly found at a Walmart revving his truck engine and jumping around outside his vehicle.

Westfield Transport also has a history of violations, including seven for unsafe driving, according to a review of federal vehicle safety data.

Zhukovskyy still had his commercial driver's license at the time of the wreck, but Massachusetts determined afterward that it should have been revoked based on the May 11 OUI arrest in Connecticut.

In the wake of the New Hampshire accident, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and other top state officials promised to conduct a full review of the Registry of Motor Vehicles to determine why out-of-state notifications about driving offenses weren't being reviewed.

The fallout from the crash led to the resignation of Erin Deveney, the former head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. Former MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler is currently serving as acting registrar.

SOURCE: NBC Boston
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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Ride for the Fallen 7 this weekend

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (July 4, 2019) — Thousands of bikers are expected to ride this weekend in honor of the seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, whose lives were taken from them in a tragic crash last month, in an event that organizers say has grown from a “small ride” to a “movement.”

“We all come together, that’s something I expected, but I could have never imagined this magnitude,” organizer Brian DeSimone told the Herald. “The outcry of support has been unbelievable.”

Members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, salute the casket outside St. Peter’s Church during the funeral for Michael Ferazzi on June 28, 2019 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Photo: Matt Stone

A Facebook post about the event, dubbed the Ride for the Fallen 7, went viral as motorcyclists across New England wanted to pay their respects to the seven bikers who died in a collision with a West Springfield trucker on June 21. Another three were hospitalized. DeSimone estimates anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people will ride Saturday, traveling from as far as California.

Related | Driver charged in deadly motorcycle crash


“We might not know them, but we are touched by them,” Jim Desrosiers said. “All of us bikers are a family, so when one of us falls, we all fall.”

Desrosiers, of Oakham, is planning to ride out of his original hometown of Worcester on Saturday with 14 other bikers from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York to meet at the event’s starting location in Laconia, N.H. He visited the site of the crash four days after it happened.

“I had chills,” Desrosiers said. “The first cross I saw, it brought me to my knees.”

Rides this size can take up to a year to plan, DeSimone said, but they pulled it together in just 10 days. DeSimone, of Derry, N.H., didn’t know the members of the Jarheads clan but felt compelled to get involved after his own near-death experience three years ago.

“I almost died in a motorcycle accident and the first thought in my mind was the victims’ family and friends, what they’re going through,” DeSimone said. “The support — the outcry and support I got — I wanted to give back.”

Jackie D’Alio, a member of the Massachusetts Patriot Guard riders, felt “tremendously sad,” but also “angry,” after hearing about the investigation into the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, which found that trucker Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, accused of crashing into the pack of motorcyclists, should have been under an automatic suspension after a May 11 OUI arrest in Connecticut. His was one of tens of thousands of alerts on out-of-state driving infractions that sat unprocessed in the RMV for more than a year.

“These vets fought for our freedom to even be able to ride. The least we can do is ride in their honor. In the biker family, they will never be alone,” D’Alio said.

The crash in Randolph, N.H., killed Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville; Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, N.H.; Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee, N.H.; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, N.H.; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H.; and Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I.

SOURCE: Boston Herald

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Monday, June 24, 2019

Truck driver charged in deadly motorcycle crash

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (June 24, 2019) — The driver of a truck in a collision that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, authorities said.

Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on a fugitive from justice charge related to Friday’s crash, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said.


He was expected to make a court appearance on the charge Monday afternoon in Springfield.

A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong.

Related | Bikers bid goodbye to 7 killed in crash

Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said.

The victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses, and ranged in age from 42 to 62.

The circumstances of the wreck have been mysterious.

The uncle of one of the victims said Sunday that he was trying to comprehend how so many bikers died in one accident.

“The truck was coming in the opposite direction. It’s hard to figure how he could hit 10 motorcycles without getting out of the way,” Joseph Mazza said. “Right now, the details are very vague. I’m very confused ... I need more information.”


Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bikers bid goodbye to 7 killed in crash

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (June 23, 2019) — A long-planned Blessing of the Bikes ceremony for motorcycle enthusiasts became a scene of mourning and reflection Sunday as about 400 people paid tribute to seven bikers killed in a devastating collision with a pickup truck.

The victims of the wreck Friday evening were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads — a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses — and ranged in age from 42 to 62.

More from Veterans Radio Indiana


Related | Bikers from veterans group killed are identified
Related | 7 Dead after truck slams into Marines MC members

“When they fall, we all fall,” said Laura Cardinal, vice president of the Manchester Motorcycle Club, adding that fellow bikers will support the families of those who died. “Those families, they’re going to go through a lot now. They have a new world ahead of them.”

A motorcycle passes as a woman leaves flowers at the scene of a fatal accident on Route 2 in Randolph, N.H., Saturday, June 22, 2019. (Paul Hayes/Caledonian-Record via AP)

A pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles on a two-lane highway in the small town of Randolph, leaving victims strewn on the grass amid their shattered bikes. The cause of the crash was under investigation, and no immediate charges were filed.

Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies are held in many locations as a way to give prayers for a safe season. Sunday’s event, situated about an hour from the accident site, was expected to draw maybe 100 or 200 people before it was transformed by tragedy.

The Rev. Rich Baillargeon presided, blessing the bikes using a branch dipped in holy water as they filed by, and held a moment of silence and prayer for the victims. One biker got up to say a prayer but got choked up and couldn’t finish. The ceremony also included a bugle playing of taps.

Many of the bikers wore jeans and leather jackets with their club patches and rumbled in on their Harley-Davidsons. The outdoor gathering took place on the property of a former church, with bikers parking in rows in the parking lot and on the grass on a warm, sunny day as vendors sold corn dogs, french fries, pizza, sausage and lemonade.

Gary and Sheila Judkins came from Sumner, Maine, in part because of the crash, saying being there was a way to feel connected to other riders.

“It’s a positive thing for bikers. And if anything, bikers need something positive,” Gary Judkins said.

Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza, 49, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Joanne and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

One person injured in the wreck remained hospitalized in stable condition.

The tragedy left the close-knit motorcycle community in shock, with many remembering their own close calls on the road.

“Seven people. C’mon. It’s senseless,” said Bill Brown, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran and motorcyclist, who visited the accident scene Saturday to plant flags. “Somebody made a mistake, and it turned out to be pretty deadly.”

The pickup driver, Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, an employee of a Springfield, Massachusetts, trucking company, was not seriously hurt. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating, said he was interviewed at the scene by police and allowed to return to Massachusetts.

A man reached by phone who identified himself as Zhukovskyy’s father said his son is cooperating with the investigation and was not available to talk to a reporter.

Authorities asked for the public’s help in the form of videos, photos or other information about the accident or the vehicles.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu ordered flags to fly at half-staff Monday in memory of the victims.

SOURCE: Boston Herald

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Veterans ride attracts over 850 bikers

Plainfield, Connecticut, USA (June 10, 2019) — A Reason to Ride, a veterans charity, has been organizing their Flag Day Run yearly since 1999. Dominic Rutigliano, the group’s treasurer, said that it’s raised at least $25,000 this year.

The run itself lasted about an hour and a half, said the charity’s chairman, Dan Martin. The route took riders from Plainfield to plenty of local towns, such as Griswold and Voluntown. Once the riders reach Norwich, they start to make their way back to Plainfield from the west.

Motorcycle riders begin the charity Flag Day Run for A Reason to Ride on Sunday at the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo: Matt Grahn

At the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars, the ride’s meeting point, it appeared there was a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot. Bikers paid $20 to ride in the event, which included lunch afterward. Behind the VFW building, there were stands from bike dealers, apparel vendors and other biker causes, such as Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Before the run started, there was an opening ceremony on the VFW’s back porch. that included words from the sponsors, a rendition of the national anthem, and a blessing of the motorcycles. After the ride, Redlight, a local band, would entertain during lunch.

Even with all the entertainment, Martin says that helping with the veterans is the best part. He also likes meeting the people that A Reason to Ride has helped out.

“It’s rewarding, of course. They’re appreciative of what we did. Sometimes, they even want to give back,” he said.

That want to give back applies to other veterans as well. John Koch, who served in the Navy from 1981 to 1987, has come to event almost every year for the “camaraderie.”

“Everyone comes here to have a good time, with a common goal and purpose to raise money for veterans,” he said.

Gary Crawford also feels the camaraderie, saying “We all do our parts in every way everyone can.”

Crawford, who served in the Coast Guard from 1980 to 1984, said there is a connection between veterans and motorcycle culture.

“After you’ve been told what to do every single day for however long your stint was, it’s kind of nice to be able to choose your own direction, your own speed,” he said. “Pure examples of freedom we can share in these United States.”

Rutigliano started working with A Reason to Ride 12 years ago, when he moved next door to another committee member, Dan Barber. After attending a couple meetings, Rutigliano was “hooked.”

Rutigliano, who also served in the Air Force during Vietnam, likes the event because the only administrative costs are insurance related, as the entire group is volunteer run.

“You hear a lot of bad publicity about some of these giant fundraisers. I’m not trying to knock anybody, but I don’t like it when someone is promoting an organization and they’re going to get paid for it,” he said.

Motorcycle are parked before the charity Flag Day Run for A Reason to Ride on Sunday at the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo: Matt Grahn

Rutigliano plans on helping out for as long as he can. Rutigliano is hopeful the event can continue for years to come.

“Every year, we get a couple of new people coming onto the committee. I can’t see why we can’t continue for the next 10, 15 years,” he said.

SOURCE: The Bulletin

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Motorcycle ride helps Wisconsin veterans

Wausau, Wisconsin, USA (June 9, 2019) — Man of Honor Society Ride held throughout Marathon County. Kicking off at 11 a.m. motorcyclist traveled through multiple cities making several stops along the way to raise money to support Wisconsin Veterans.

The ride started at Mountain Edge Bar in Wausau and went through Mosinee, Hatley, and Weston ending back in Wausau.


“This is always so exciting,” said Mary Mulder who organizes the fundraiser every year. “We had beautiful weather this year.”

All of the proceeds raised through silent auctions and raffles will be used to support wheelchair ramps, travel expenses and many other needs for veterans in Wisconsin.

Organizers tell NewsChannel 7, this year had one of the largest participation turnouts.

SOURCE: WSAW

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

National Patriot Tour Rolling

Grand Island, Nebraska, USA (June 2, 2019) — 100 days, 14,500 miles is the journey one american flag is taking to recognize disabled veterans. after starting in Wisconsin, the flag has now made its way to Nebraska on the back of a Harley Davidson as part of the National Patriot Tour.


Dozens of bikers have been helping take the flag across the state to be passed on to the next. Organizers of the Nebraska chapter said they really enjoy being a part of the cause every year..

“Everyday it travels among people like this our patriot people that just love the flag, support veterans because what it actually represents is wounded veterans. So we raise money to actually donate that money back to the veterans,” Regional Commander Troi Pospisil said.

This is the 10th year of the tour and the organization has raised over a million dollars since it began.

“It's a great honor for me to do this every year and get to see the same people again,” Pospisil said. “I mean some of them...that's the only time I get to see [them] is on this ride.”

Sunday, the flag will be taken to North Platte to be handed off to the next group of riders for the Patriot Tour.


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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

World War 2 Vet helped by bikers

Oregon City, Oregon, USA (May 27, 2019) — At 93 years old, James Walker - better known as Buddy - thinks he's found his forever home.

It's situated on the end of a row of mobile homes at Maple Lane Estates in Oregon City. His home faces a large grassy area and trees; it's just the space he was looking for. He just moved in a month ago, after six years of waiting.


To him, despite the imperfections, it's perfect. He knew he'd have a few repairs to make, but it was nothing the World War II Navy veteran wasn't prepared for.

"The pipes under the house were brass and they were too small, and had to be replaced," Buddy explained.

Buddy joined the Navy in 1943. He was just 17 years old at the time.

"My dad said, 'Buddy you sure you want to do this?' And I said, 'Yes, sir. I’m little but I’m tough, and I know they need me.'"

Two years later, he'd find himself on the shore of Hiroshima, five days before Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on the island. He was prepared to die.

"We were going into Japan and [our captain] told us to write home and say goodbye to our families, because we were going to be dead," Buddy said.
The atomic bomb ended up saving his life, and he would survive the war, but he does still carry some trauma from his service. Buddy is disabled and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

"We ride with those who can, for those who can’t," Ken “Chopper” Klarfeld, the president of the Oregon chapter of the Disabled Veterans Motorcycle Club, said.

The motorcycle club honors veterans and just recently became a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

"We thought, you know what, we could expand this to help other disabled vets," Ken said.

Now, the motorcycle club works to help disabled veterans in a variety of ways, from home repairs to groceries.

By day, Ken is a contractor. That's how he first met Buddy and learned his story.

"I climbed up on the roof and said 'oh my goodness this place needs a roof in the worst way,'" Ken said.

Buddy knew his new home would need some work, but a project this big, one that would cost roughly $20,000 according to Ken, was not something Buddy was anticipating.

Ken decided he would work with roofers and other companies to make sure Buddy doesn't have to pay. The generosity is something that leaves Buddy nearly speechless.

"I never thought a thing like this would be possible," Buddy said.

If you are interested in learning more or helping, visit their website at: DisabledVeteransMC.net

SOURCE: KTXS12

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rolling Thunder rides off into the sunset

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2019) — The spectacle of hundreds of thousands of motorcycles roaring their way through the streets of Washington, D.C., to Memorial Day events as part of the annual Rolling Thunder veterans tribute will be a thing of the past after this coming weekend.

Former Army Sgt. Artie Muller, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran and co-founder of Rolling Thunder, said the logistics and costs of staging the event for Memorial Day, which falls on May 27 this year, were getting too out of hand to continue. The ride had become a tradition in D.C. since the first in 1988.


"It's just a lot of money," said the plainspoken Muller, who laced an interview with a few epithets of regret over having to shut down Rolling Thunder.

Muller, who served with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam and runs the event out of his home in Neshanic, New Jersey, said it costs about $200,000 to stage Rolling Thunder, which draws riders from across the nation.

RELATED | Rolling Thunder comes to an end

He said the costs include installations for porta-potties and the $30,000 fee charged by the Defense Department for parking at the Pentagon before the annual Sunday ride from there across the Memorial Bridge, four-abreast, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall.

Muller also said riders have increasingly complained of harassment by Pentagon security and the Washington, D.C., police.

A Pentagon spokeswoman said in a statement that the DoD has "full confidence and trust in the competence and professionalism of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency and is prepared to support the 2019 Rolling Thunder ride, as we have for the past 31 years."

Muller denied that waning interest among younger veterans was a factor in calling off Rolling Thunder. The National Park Service declines to give crowd estimates, but Muller said Rolling Thunder had about a half-million participants in 2018.

However, the decision to make this year's ride the last came in December after consultations by group officials with Rolling Thunder local chapters about falling sponsor contributions and other difficulties, he said.

"They were ready to drop it. Let's face it: Everybody loves the military when there's a war going on," but veterans issues can fade into the background in the aftermath, Muller said.

Rolling Thunder, a callback to the first sustained U.S. bombing campaign in North Vietnam known as Operation Rolling Thunder, began as a demonstration to demand answers from the government on missing troops and prisoners of war in Vietnam. It has continued to demand a full accounting on that issue, while paying tribute to the fallen of all the nation's wars.

Over the years, Muller has met with presidents, from George H.W. Bush to Barack Obama. He also met Donald Trump in 2016, when the then-presidential candidate addressed a Rolling Thunder rally.

The Rolling Thunder tradition will continue next year with events planned by local chapters, Muller said, but this year's national event will be the last.

This year's program will begin with the annual "Blessing of the Bikes" at Washington National Cathedral on Friday and a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, according to a Rolling Thunder release.

Following the ride to the National Mall on Sunday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will address a Rolling Thunder rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

SOURCE: Military Times

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Veterans shot while riding motorcycles

Harris County, Texas (April 14, 2019) — Three Marine veterans riding motorcycles in west Harris County were shot at early Saturday morning, Harris County deputies said. Two of them were hit but are expected to survive.


This happened in the 3800 block of Barkers Crossing. The Marines told deputies that a gold SUV started following them as they were on their way home. The SUV allegedly hit one of the Marines and knocked him off his bike and then ran over another. After that, deputies said several people in the SUV jumped out and started shooting at the Marines.

According to investigators, it appears there was no contact between the Marines and the people in the SUV before the shooting.


The third Marine, who was not hit, is being questioned by deputies. No arrests have been made.

SOURCE: Click2Houston

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Temecula Bike Blessing a hit

Temecula, California (April 13, 2019) — A week before Easter, motorcyclists flocked Saturday, April 13, to Temecula Harley-Davidson — and then to a priest waiting to bless their vehicles. It was the second annual Temecula Bike Blessing, created to smash stereotypes about bikers.

Hundreds of motorcyclists gather during the 2nd annual Temecula Bike Blessing April 13, 2019. 
Photo by FRANK BELLINO, Contributing Photographer.

The blessing aimed to show, the event’s website states, “that bikers are normal people — sons, fathers, husbands, etc. — who have a common goal and respect for one another and the cities that they live in.” 

Motorcyclists rode from the dealership to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4089, where a priest blessed the motorcycles as they came into the driveway. The event, a VFW fundraiser, also included food and activities for children.

SOURCE: The Press-Enterprise