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August 23rd Edition

In This Issue:

Riding BE-cause ~ Charitable & Educational Events in the Carolinas

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Gary Burgess: More Memorable Rides with The Patriot Guard

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

Rebel Randi: Road Journal Entry #5

Loose Talk with Jon

CLICK BELOW to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!

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The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of August 24-30, 2016

Wednesday 90h & p-cloudy, Thursday 93h & sunny, Friday 96h & m-sunny, Saturday 96h & m-sunny, Sunday 93h & m-sunny, Monday 92h & m-sunny, Tuesday 92h & m-sunny (as per weather.com on 8/23/16)

Haulin' ...

Shaggy emailed this photo entitled "Laundry Day."

... and it made me think of the things I know that have been "hauled" by motorcycle. Yesterday I saw a guy hooking up a sailboat on trailer behind what looked from a distance to be an old dirt bike. I remember Footloose strapping a charcoal grill to the back of his former Softail ... and a camping trip that had his bike piled so high on back that it looked like the Clampetts were in town.

So what have you "hauled" on your bike?

What have you seen hauled, strapped on, carried?

Gimme a shout!

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: Gary rides with the Patriot Guard, devoted men and women who ride for those who have given their lives in service. Patriot Guard is called in by family and not only honors the memories but cares for and supports those grieving. As their website says, "The Patriot Guard Riders is a diverse amalgamation of riders from across the nation. We have one thing in common besides motorcycles. We have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security including Fallen Military Heroes, First Responders and honorably discharged Veterans. We don’t care what you ride or if you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a hawk or a dove. It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn't matter where you’re from or what your income is; you don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is Respect." This is Part 2 of an occasional series first presented by Gary in The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine in February 23, 2016. We thank Gary and all who ride for those who have passed on and their loved ones.

Make sure you don't miss WWII Vet #36 and the other WWII Vet who rode his Harley to the funeral ... and then do check back next week for more of Gary's Patriot Guard Rides!

No. 31

Scott Craig

This was the first funeral that I went in to show my respects. It was said that Scott died from a flu vaccination a few days earlier.  He was in his dress blues and although older than the above picture looked good. I apologized to him for not doing more in making drugs safer. 
The funeral home had the look and feel of a church with steeple. This was the first cemetery to see solar powered lights on graves and almost every grave with many having two (2) lights. If in the area I will drive by at night to see the effects.  While standing my position, one of the lights on the grave in front of me fell. Participating in these events you look for symbols. 
Two (2) active military / Marines stood at attention at the side of the road. I kept waiting for them to fold one of the flags.  This was also the first casket to be draped with six (6) flags and the first for the Honor Guard (retired soldiers) to fold and present the flags.  These flags went to a niece or daughter of the other son, a son, a daughter, a brother, a father, & lastly, his wife. Her flag got three (3) shells for Duty, Honor & Country. 
This took about 20 minutes coupled with the service it was about 45 + minutes of continuing standing without movement.  We normally stand 60 to 120 minutes but with some movement and / or relief if we desire / need such. I have stood 180 minutes with some movement from room to room with no relief. I could hardly walk to my bike when I left the service. The last hour I could lean my back against a wall.
The family of Sgt. Melvin "Scott" Craig requested the presence of the PGR for services for their Hero. Mr. Craig proudly served his country in the US Marine Corps as a Bulk Fuel Specialist.  

During his service Mr. Craig earned the Rifle Sharpshooter Badge, the Service Deployment Ribbon and the Good Conduct Medal. According to the funeral home, Mr. Craig specifically requested the PGR for his escort to his final resting place.

No. 32

SSgt Jason C. Hicks, USAF

The family of SSgt Jason C. Hicks, USAF, has asked the Patriot Guard Riders to stand in honor of his service and sacrifice during the Memorial 5K that is conducted in his memory during the Memorial Day Weekend.  The 5K race starts at 0930 (9:30 am) at the Pageland Community Center.
As per our instructions, we were there to “establish a flag line in honor of SSGT Hicks and his fellow crew prior to the opening ceremony and at the start of the race.  We will reposition the flag line to the ending point of the race to help inspire the runners and remind the public of the sacrifice of these heroes.”
Jason and five other U.S. Air Force Combat Search and Rescue airmen assigned to the 41st Rescue Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, were killed in action in a HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crash, while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan in 2003.  This was before the PGR even existed, so we now have the opportunity to stand for him like we have for so many others.
This was a primarily a HOTH Mission but also the Guard’s first remembrance of SSgt Hicks who was buried in Arlington before the creation of the Guard in 2005.  It was my 4th SC event and 3rd Hoth Mission.
It was small town America at its finest coming together on Memorial Day Week End.
Scholarships have been awarded to a local High School Student since 2003 and many of them were there in honor of SSgt Hicks, especially the early winners.

It was nice to see the smiles on the race finishers regardless of finish as we stood at the start / finish line.  Most ran, some walked.  Some were very young perhaps 5 years old – some were old 60’s and 70’s.  The Oldest in his mid 80’s walked a portion of the 5K and was a Normandy during D-Day.

Following the race was a chicken barbecue, silent auction, memorial slide show to SSgt. Hicks and those that died with him and a beach / rock band concert in the Pageland Community Center.

No. 33

William Troy Withers

I will never know when I will stand for the last WW II Veteran. This was my 7th WW II Veteran and, like my father, he was in the Army Air Force.

His son was a Chaplain and as such we had 17 members of the Army (no Air Force) in uniform plus a Sailor / Member of the Family in his dress blues. One soldier in fatigues stood guard in the sun next to the van that apparently had rifles in it. Other soldiers rotated outside next to us every 10+/- minutes because of the heat. Five (5) PGR members stood guard the whole time fortunately in the shade under the canopy. A couple of friends stood with us in the flag line for part of the time.

I asked the Chaplain Son about his father’s last days and he said he was sharp until the end. He apparently had a hole in his throat such that he could not swallow and refused life support. After 14 – 18 days he finally passed coherent until the last day. He said his Dad spent the last few weeks directing the family and leaving a legacy for his wife.

During the third volley of the twenty one (21) gun salute several of the M-16’s? did not fire. It was obvious to most of us and the young military many that had not even had earned strips on their pants complained of the problems with jamming when using blanks. I obtained a shell from them and was amazed how small in diameter it was.
The Chaplain Son spoke at the funeral and led the service at the grave site. This was a first to have a Family Member conduct much of the service.

Normally we have a two (2) plus military in attendance unless it is the Coast Guard and they apparently send no one. I sense his son was influential in the high turnout even greater than an officer. There were 4 bikes / 6 riders that lead the funeral procession that were family / members. Myself and Rick Shinn road with them with the remaining three (3) Guard Members following the Hearst. Riding down Albemarle on a Saturday with a ton of traffic and city folk that often have little respect for funeral processions meant that we got split up into several groups.

Our orders for this mission: "We have been requested by the family of yet another of the "Greatest Generation" to stand for their Hero. William Troy Withers proudly served his country during WWII in the US Army Air Corps, 860th Air Engineering Squadron, 434 Air Service Group. Mr. Withers served as a Mortar Crewman (607) which means his duties included set up, aiming, and firing of the 60 mm mortars. Mr. Withers was part of the first wave of soldiers on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion. He also served in the Northern France and Rhineland Campaigns. On November 19th, 1944 Mr. Withers was wounded in Germany and received the Purple Heart. In addition to the Purple Heart, Mr. Withers also earned the European African-Middle Eastern Service Ribbon with (3) Bronze Stars, the American Theater and Victory Service Ribbons, (2) Overseas Bars, and the Good Conduct Medal. After the briefing we will stand a flag line for arrival of family and friends during visitation from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. Once the service begins at 2:00, we will stand down and prepare for the escort to the cemetery (approx. 8 miles). At the cemetery we will establish a flag line for a ceremony with full military honors"

No. 34

Mr. James Long, US Army, Vietnam Veteran

Every Ride is unique. This one was unique in that the wife watched from her hospital bed. They were involved in a head on crash. Our orders, "Mr. Long lost his life in a car accident last week. His wife is still in Intensive Care at Carolinas HealthCare System Main in Charlotte. She is fully aware of his passing and has given the "go ahead" to proceed with his service. The funeral home will be live streaming the service, and will video the procession and graveside service at Salisbury for her."

In attendance and in the procession were dozens of friends and several dozen classic cars. It was an open casket. The viewing line was long such that it was inappropriate for me to say my respects – something that I have only done a couple of times before along with the few times the Guard did it as a Group. The Chapel was crowded so it was inappropriate for me to sit in – something I have done a few times and enjoy. Most services are such that you feel you knew the individual with the reflection given by friends and family members. It is also a reality check that our time on earth is a blessing and not to be taken lightly.
The Hearst was an aqua blue 1955 +/- Cadillac. This vehicle was extremely long such that imperfections in the body panels were easily seen.

I did not ride to the National Cemetery as I had a conference call for the design of a new biotech facility to be built in Florida in which I will play a lead role.

No. 35

Josh Warren, 34, East Lincoln Fire Department

"Josh 1, Josh 1 Last Call, Rest in Peace Brother, We will take it from here."

... These were the words that came over the radios of five (5) dozen fireman at the grave site funeral service. I thought I had hardened after a couple of dozen services but this brought a tear to most of the 100 – 125 people in attendance.
This was my first non-veteran ride and first fire fighter and also my 100th time to stand for a ‘Fallen Hero’. This means my next ride will be for my 100th Veteran.

This was my 6th or so ride where we walked to the grave site. Josh rode a top his favorite fire truck. When his wife walked between me and the grave site tent and seeing the grave, her legs buckled and was caught and helped
to her seat. She wore a red, white and blue dress and was with her 8 year old daughter Kelsey in a blue dress. I did not notice or see their 4 year old son Max. I hate to think he missed the funeral.

Mr. Warren served his community since 1997 as a fire fighter, and since 2013 with the East Lincoln Fire Department. He collapsed after returning from a call and passed before he could be taken to the hospital.

Every ride so far has firsts and this had many. Fireman from as far as North Charleston and Raleigh were in attendance. I got there early and walked into church and paid my respects to Josh while others were getting the church ready. Seven (7) Josh Warren 384 helmets were in the back pew. One of which had seen its share of fire.

We were thanked for our standing guard by many of the fire fighter captains.

I walked in hoping to attend the services. A gentleman who I assume might have been with the funeral home or worked in such capacity escorted me in. This gentleman warned me that the family would be coming at 10:30 as I was the Guard Member manning the door that day. He was good at making people feel at home. (Later he would help with the seating at the grave site). Seating in church was tight because the firefighters and family all walked in together. The church was full except the back two rows center pews. I sat in the last row so I could leave early for my Guard Duties.

Pastor Steve Owenby told the story of Josh seeing Kimberly for the first time at a bowling alley with her date. He was so struck by her that he told his buddy that he was going to marry her. The next day he sent her a dozen yellow roses and made true on his promise. Steve told that the Sunday, four (4) days before Josh’s death, he heard Cathy Carpenter sing in church. Josh told Kimberly that he was going to have Cathy sing at his funeral. Cathy did sing and sang Amazing Grace. Steve warned us that before she sung he had a little story to tell after she sung. Had he told us before there would not have been a dry eye in church.
The program includes a letter from Josh’s Mother Kathleen thanking Josh for letting her be his Mother and her quoting Genesis 1:27, 2 Corinthians 5:8 and Joshua 24:15. His sister Jessica made a very wonderful presentation on Josh’s life and thanked those in attendance.

The Honor Guard carried two (2) bronze or gold axes and the US and NC Flag. They wore white silk ascots. Since the Guard is a silent back drop to the event there was a row of firefighters in front of me and a row of Josh’s friends. Directly in front of me was an African American firefighter wearing one of Josh’s Helmets. All but captains and higher had their fire helmets. Nearly half were leather and the rest being fiberglass / thermoplastic. Leather has some superiority to plastic.

Ten (10) pall bearers brought Josh’s casket from the Fire Truck to the grave site a distance of about 50’. All but one were fireman and the 10th may have been or may not but wore a suit.

Kimberly was presented with the American Flag from the coffin. Flags already folded were given to Josh’s sister or daughter and Josh’s Mother Kathleen. A red fire helmet was given to Kimberly and a black helmet to daughter Kelsey. Josh became a Mason a year plus earlier and there were a dozen and half Mason’s in attendance in suits with their Mason Aprons. One firefighter wore an Apron. Almost all wore an evergreen sprig symbolizing everlasting life. One Mason did a ceremony for Kimberly – she was given I think a flag and an Apron was placed on Josh’s casket.

We were all invited to share in lunch at the church including the Guard. None of the Guard expressed interest. We leave in silence but this time we left in silence well beyond site of anyone. The Guard is there to help the family and to be a silent flag background. It is generally not appropriate that we participate although I felt it was appropriate for this funeral. Looking back I wish I would have attended lunch which would have been another first.
Josh’s daughter released four (4) yellow balloons with phrases along with single red, white and blue balloons.

No. 36

Mr. Senn

Mr. Senn (January 6, 1921 - July 13, 2016) served four years stateside in the U.S. Army during WWII and attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. After his honorable discharge he, along with his brothers, started a produce business which still exists at the SC state farmer's market, Senn Brothers Fruit and Produce Company. He was also a member of Pineview Ruritan, American Legion, and Woodmen of the World.

Our orders: "The Flag Line will be established just prior to visitation at Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church in West Columbia and held until the services begins. Upon conclusion of the service, we will conduct a flag line for the graveside services in the church cemetery."

This was my 100th Veteran to stand for and 100 miles to the site. (OK, 99.3 miles with a visit to SC State House and lunch at Taco Bell after locating the Church. I was hoping a 100 miles for this 100th event!)

I arrived early as I wanted to take some photos of the General Sherman cannon shells that struck the State House and to see the Capitol again. Sherman hit the State House 10 times from across the Congaree River and about a mile away – impressive with the technology of the day.

Arriving early I helped the funeral director(s), Mr. Senn’s son-in-law, and great son-in-law unload the casket. When inside, the funeral directors opened the casket and made sure three (3) plastic goats, two (2) on one side and one (1) on the other side were properly in place. Mr. Senn’s son-in-law said that his father-in-law loved goats especially simple briar-eating-goats. He said that the goats were the idea of one of the granddaughters.

Churches with cemeteries are interesting in that typically a few families will dominate that cemetery. The Senn’s, Hook’s and Shull’s perhaps occupied 50 to 60% of the graves.

A Motorcycle Sidenote ....

We not only paid respect to Mr. Senn, a WW II veteran, but a WWII veteran named Bernie who fought in the Battle of the Bulge (December 16, 1944 – 25 January 25, 1945) came and paid his respect. Bernie rode his 2-year-old Harley-Davidson Trike. Bernie said he traded two (2) bikes to get his Trike.

Bernie as a teenager TT raced. He described his races as ¼ to ½ mile ovals typically with at least one jump. Bernie was drafted into the Army and after the Battle of the Bulge volunteered for the Air Force. He was sent to Washington for training. Bernie was able to have his Indian made street legal had his folks ship it out to him where he was stationed in the Pacific Northwest in Tacoma. The Army Air Force apparently not needing pilots sent draftees such as Bernie back to the Army keeping Air Force enlistees for training.

Bernie wore this patch among others on his Patriot Guard Riders Vest as he was then part of Oregon’s and the Army's 91st "Powder River" Infantry Division. When discharged he rode his bike home to the Washington, D. C. area where his family owned a fruit and vegetable business. Without maps let alone GPS he headed east largely following the Lincoln Highway probably sleeping out under the stars. This made him one of the first, if not the first, WW II Veterans to go coast to coast.
Bernie won the Purple Heart as seen on his license plate on his pretty Trike.

To be continued in next week's edition of The Carolina Rider Weekly Magazine!

 

Thank you to all who replied to the info about possible new laws regarding lane splitting and filtering. I'll keep you posted if I hear what happens with the effort.

I'm feeling a change in the season and it's greatly welcome. I don't do well in the heat and this Summer has been a hot one and that means I haven't been on my bike or many other outdoor pursuits like I'd like to. Come on, Fall!

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