Ride report posted for  Cheryl ‘beads’ Riley

This was one of those missions that just kinda happened.

On the way home last Monday (3/1/10) I noticed the marquee in front of the the local elementary school. They were welcoming home a Sgt Adam Colon. Since it was after school hours I had to wait till Tuesday to make contact with someone. So Tuesday, my husband Steve and I went into the school office and talked to a few of the “office ladies” who told us that Sgt Colon had come to the school on Monday and that the children had been sending “care packages and letters and homemade pictures” to Sgt Colon and his buddies for the past year. Sgt Colon had given the school a certificate stating the Flag he was also giving them had been flown in a combat zone in Balad, Iraq. The children were thrilled to finally meet this US Army soldier who had been writing to them.

Well after talking to the school secretary, Ms Jean Muesser, we explained who we are and what we do and if there was anyway we could help in the future please let us know. Well another member of the school staff, Mrs Barb Westerlund is a friend of Sgt Colon and she was having a welcome home dinner celebration for him on Saturday night and if we could do something for Sgt Colon then, that would be perfect. Icing on the cake so to speak. So we will plan a meet n greet.

Saturday night comes along and with our goofy Chicago weather, it was nice enough for a several members to bring out their bikes. We staged in a local shopping center and while waiting for our LEO to arrive, Sgt Colons family and friends arrive. Since this had been arranged by friends, the family would be showing up with us as another surprise to Adam. His mom Rosa had to fight the whole time to hold back those happy tears. Not only was Adam home safely, but that we were here to honor her son. And I’m not sure how it happened but momma ended up on the back of a bike for the ride to final destination. What a thrill it was for her. I understand she now wants a bike. 🙂

With our LEO from Lake Zurich in place (Greg (who happens to know the family) has escorted us thru Lake Zurich several times but this was the first time being part of the home coming.), we were ready to go. Across the street into the subdivision with the siren and lights from our LEO, the roar from our bikes and the horns of our cages (cars and trucks) we let them know there was someone important in the neighborhood. When we pulled up in front of the house, everyone came running out to see what all the noise was about… Surprise Sgt Colon, this is for you!

After all the hugs, handshakes, backslaps and tears, we passed the coin, presented Adam with a printout of all the wonderful well wishes on the thread and gave him a set of beads. Sgt Colon thanked me and told me he understood how much thought and meaning went into the beads and would treasure them always. We took a bunch of group pictures then let this wonderful family enjoy their time TOGETHER as we rumbled into the night.

Special thanks go to the wonderful facility at Cotton Creek School in Island Lake, Il for their dedication to our young people, to “the future of our country” as quoted by Sgt Colon in a local paper.

To the Westerland family who allowed us to “crash” their dinner party.

Thanks to Lake Zurich Police Dept for once again being there for us, for them! You guys ROCK!

TO the family and Friends of Adam Colon, for sharing him with us. For allowing him to be our defender and hero.

And to Sgt Adam Colon…for what you do, THANK YOU is NOT enough. You are an American Hero. I am so glad you were able to stop by the school and show the children a real role model, someone who puts himself in harms way for the greater good without thought to ones own welfare. THANK YOU SGT ADAM COLON, THANK YOU and WELCOME HOME!

Wishing you God’s Love and protection,
Cheryl Riley aka Beads
A Proud Marine Mom