Ride Report posted for Joseph M. Alger

Our home town hero’s had a rough go of it loosing four of their cherished friends and fellow soldiers while stationed in Afghanistan. A number of us rode up the day before to meet the two buses at Fort McCoy just outside Tomah Wisconsin.

Thanks to our marvelous Wisconsin Warriors Watch members Denise and Kim the escort had Sheriffs police in the lead from every county we passed through…

It rained like hell for the first 100 miles, but no matter, and we had fantastic cooperation from our neighbors to the North. We rolled into our last pit stop at Loves truck stop in Roscoe Illinois to a fantastic number of Warriors Watch member’s biker’s police and a number of well wishers.

The most touching was a truck driver who rolled in while our members where staging. He asked what was going on and when he learned a unit was coming back he said that he too had just completed a tour ending in June of this year. He hopped into his truck, pulled out his fatigues, shaved cleaned up and was standing at attention saluting when we pulled in. I honestly thought he was there from the unit. It was touching to say the least.

Once in Illinois we had motorcycle officers from the country and from other surrounding towns leading us on the 40 mile back roads into Woodstock, in addition to about 80 bikers and a number of cages.  All long the route folks were coming out and waving, there we also a number of signs along the way thanking these soldiers for their sacrifice.

Nothing could have prepared us however for the show once we hit the town of Woodstock. The entire square was filled to capacity with well wishers in addition to fire trucks and police. We formed a flag line for our hero’s once we got stooped and lined the walkway for their trek to the gazebo at the heart of the square. Once there First Sergeant Fowles took over as MC for the ceremony. First there was a moment of silence for the men who didn’t make it home with the rest of the unit. The bells tolled and pictures of the soldiers were presented. The commanding General spoke and present was the Command sergeant Major of the Illinois National Guard, as well as the mayor and a number of other dignitaries. The ceremony was quick as everyone knew the top priority was to get these hero’s reunited with their families ASAP. Sergeant Fowles thanked us numerous times for the unbelievable show of support for his men.

Thanks again to Denis and Kim for making the Wisconsin portion truly special. First Sergeant Fowles said he had no luck getting Wisconsin LEO support, but Kim and Denise made it happen. God bless our members of the Woodstock National Guard and to everyone who helped make it a day to remember. States Attorney Lou Bianchi might have said it best when he said this was the greatest day in the history of Woodstock. I wish all the members of the Woodstock Notational Guard could have been there to see it.

Those that didn’t make it will be eternally remembered.

Joseph M. Alger