Ride Report posted for Al “Bluesman” Philo


On a wet, rainy Sunday morning, August 9, 2009, members of the Friends of the Forgotten Northeast Wing gathered to prepare for this third annual event…the “You Are Not Forgotten” Ride. This is a ride and event to bring attention to, and raise some funds for, the POW-MIA issue, Veterans, and Troops. In the past two years, funds have gone to local young American Heroes wounded in combat, to help them with expenses, to the local Veterans’ Center, to the families of local Fallen Heroes, to help them to begin to heal from the wounds of losing a loved one.


The weather was not promising at all, but tables were set up outside for everything from T-shirts and patches, to the fantastic food, which was all donated by local establishments, and prepared on the spot by Randu’s BBQ. The POW-MIA table was set up outside, near the tank in front of the Marine Corps League Northeast Detachment, along with the Fallen Hero display. A sound system was set up for music and announcements, and covered with plastic tarps until the time came for its use. Thanks to countless members for their time and efforts!


The parking field was muddy! At first, nothing was looking good. But soon, bikes started arriving, and people arrived in cars, too. It began to look brighter, in participation, if not weather. Eventually, the rain began to let up, and 240 bikes were counted…down only 22 from last year, but the countless number of those who chose to come in cars more than made up for that difference.


A brief ceremony was held before the ride, beginning with an invocation by FotF N.E.Wing Chaplain Frank “Old Scout” Lesnefsky.( Apparently Frank made his point well to the Powers Above, because the ride was dry, and safe!)

 Opening exercises included the singing of the National Anthem by the fiance of a local Fallen Hero. Flowers were presented to Gold Star Mothers, and a member Gold Star Wife, by Events Coordinator Kim Atkinson.

 The Mayor of the city of Scranton joined us, and spoke briefly. The keynote speaker for the day was Wayne Lutz, Warriors’ Watch Riders founder, and Friends of the Forgotten member. Wayne’s words held the crowd absolutely spellbound, and brought tears to many eyes. 

After a ride of about an hour through the hills and small towns of Northeast Pennsylvania, (led by Road Captains George Atkinson and Don Knight) the ride returned to a feast of pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, chili, salads, and everything imaginable for a great picnic. Door prizes were presented, the “Miller Lite” girls gave out hats and T-shirts, and the very impressive museum within the Marine Corps League was open to tours, led by Commandant SSgt. Al Gibbs. Free blood pressure screening was offered, and programs and benefits for Veterans were presented, and even post-ride massage therapy was made available!

 No amount of rain was about to dampen the enthusiasm of the Patriots in Northeast Pennsylvania! And as long as there are American Heroes to be remembered, that enthusiasm will never be dampened in the future!

 Respectfully Submitted,

Al “BluesmanNEPA” Philo

Warriors’ Watch Riders PA State Coordinator, Northeast Region