Ride Report posted for Little Audrey

Being my first mission as RC, needless to say I was a nervous wreck.  Upon opening the paper to the daily horoscope, I saw 3 stars (not a good sign) and the following:   ‘’Curb a need to have certain events turn out as you might like.”, and thought that did not sound promising. 


Kel, my son Sean and I headed to the rally point at the Regal Plaza, and who should appear in the rearview mirror, but Butch!  A welcome sight for sure.  At least we’d have 2 bikes for the escort.


The evening was sultry, but not a sign of rain was evident…woohoo…one less thing to worry about!  Folks began arriving at our first rally point.  There were 8 on bikes and 6 in cages, which included Warriors Watch and A Heros Welcome members.  Not too bad!  While waiting for the KSU time, Charlie Becker mentioned an email from our Fairmount FD contact, Ryan Colelli, from the previous evening which said 6:15 rally at the Holy Savior Club rear parking lot (glitch #1), so we were very early!  We decided to delay KSU to 5:45.   This allowed some of the group to head into the adjacent Wendy’s for a quick bite to eat, and maybe some folks stuck in traffic time to arrive.  With no new arrivals at that time, we headed to our next rally point, where we picked up folks from the Marine Corps League.  A Fox 29 news reporter, Bob Adams from Del Co Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit in his patrol car, and Mary Conboy and Gary Warner from Operation Bedding were also there. It seems our package served with Adam, and had also been a recipient of one of their care packages.  Gary was on his bike, so now there were 9. Shortly after our arrival Ryan Colelli arrived with the Fire Trucks and Brian Saxon from the Norristown PD came in his patrol car.


I received a call from Dan’s Mom (Mary Jo) and found out that Dan and his Dad (Ed) were already in Lou’s Sandwich Shop.  Dan used to work there, so he was enjoying a visit with old friends.  His Mom suggested that when we were ready, we should send Ryan in to drag Dan out.  After further discussion, we decided to line all the vehicles up on Main Street in front of Lou’s, so with a little help from our PD participants we blocked a lane and headed across the street where we set up our flag line.  When Dan came out he seemed very surprised that we were all there!  That was a good thing, since he suspected, after finding a welcome home banner at his house, that something was going to happen that night when he got home. Little did he know!  We gave a rowdy ‘Welcome Home’, and hugs and handshakes were given all around.  He was interviewed by Fox 29, and Mary asked him to do a quick video on how it felt when he received the care package.  Heather came to the rescue with the video camera!


With Dan riding on the back of Bobcat’s bike, horns and sirens blaring, and engines revving, the entourage proceeded through the streets of Norristown to our final destination…the block party!  To our surprise the street was taped off and the expected ladder bridge was on the next street over (glitch #2 – electrical wires were in the way). There were friends, family and neighbors waving flags and cheering, so we unsaddled there, not knowing there were also folks awaiting the procession on Dan’s street (glitch #3).  After interviews and greetings were over, I coined our hero and Charlie did the A Heros Welcome presentation.  We then all walked over to Dan’s street where we met more family and friends. Ice cold water and a flag that the kids made from cupcakes were waiting!  We did our traditional group photo, and slipped into the night! 


I guess I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Dan is part of a very military family.  His 86 year old grandmother (Florence) had been an Army nurse, his uncle, Cpl. Daniel W. Brady, who Dan was named for, was KIA in Vietnam, his sister was in the Air Force, another sibling was in the Navy, and of course our hero is a Marine!


Welcome Home Sgt. Dan Lester!  It was an honor and a pleasure to share in your celebration!


Thanks to everyone who came out and provided their support.  The success of this mission is owed to you.