Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

4th Annual Thank a Vet Ride - Birmingham, Alabama

Written by  September 30, 2011

On Saturday, September 10, riders gathered at All About Bikes to ride over to the American Legion Post in Eastlake for the 4th Annual Thank a Vet ride to the VA Hospital in Birmingham.

The Legion Post 171 in Eastlake is where we met Rick Waller with the VA Medical Center and Legion Post 171, John Burke also with Legion Post 171, and one of the organizers, John Culver. John is a veteran who four years ago saw the benefit of having people just going to say “Hi” and shake hands with the people who devoted their lives to our country. Many of the people making this ride were veterans, like the Navy gal we met who served in Vietnam.

Before the ride, everyone was invited inside to eat from the spread of food they had laid out. They also did a 50/50 drawing to raise some money to give to the escorts because they’ve had their county backing removed, so now they are escorting events out of the kindness of their hearts--shame the gas companies won’t take that as currency for gas to go in their bikes!

Emory Hubbard and a few from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department and one from Warrior who just wanted to come be a part of the ride, were our escorts for the day.

After a brief and lighthearted safety speech from Emory (and some talk about a 100 mile-per-hour escorted ride) and prayer for a safe ride, it was time to mount up and head off to the VA Hospital.

Fox 6 News was waiting at the VA Hospital when the group arrived, and after stopping to talk to them and pose for group photos, everyone went inside where some of the Birmingham Fire Department were waiting to greet everyone, and they were promptly thanked and presented with a certificate of appreciation for their services. Pat Fetzer, administrator at the VA Hospital, was also there to greet the riders, and John Culver thanked her on behalf of everyone for what the VA does for all of our service men and women.

I was told that they had the blind vets outside greeting the bikers last year as they rolled in, and several of the riders were very emotional over that. I kind of wish they had let all who could and wanted to come out this time. I think everyone would have enjoyed that; maybe next year!

Then it was time for the different groups to head upstairs to meet and greet with some of the vets who were there. It seemed like everyone was so appreciative and enjoyed having folks come visit and thank them. Some even had groups of bikers around them holding hands and having a little prayer time together; very touching.

This was definitely one of those “feel good” rides that we’re glad to have been a part of.

Write-On and Ride-On
By Lynn Reynolds and
Leigh Lilly