Ride Report posted for Bob Abrams

This was a great mission that just kept getting better. Our heroes mother, Maureen LaPierre got our website from Joe Cantafio, a local musician who is renowned for entertaining our troops with his band, The 101st Rock Division.  She shared so much with me during the planning stage, including the relationship William had with his grandparents who raised him and the death of his grandmother while he was in Iraq.  At only 22 William has served two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan and compiled a list of achievements  that would made Rambo proud.
Working with the FAA to get permission to stage in one of their parking lots across from O’Hare Airport, I told them we would probably only have 5 or 6 bikes, it being a weekday and all. I didn’t count, but there were at least 20.
The Chicago Police Department provided an escort for William, his mother and grandfather, himself a Disabled American Vet to the staging area. All three of them were clearly surprised by the turnout and deeply moved. Vern (the grandfather) kept pulling me aside, trying to make a donation. I explained to him that he and his grandson had done everything that they could possibly do for us.

William’s hometown police failed to show up at the staging area as planned, so the CPD escorted us, lights flashing, sirens blaring the 7-1/2 miles to Elmwood Park, where we finally met up with their PD, who escorted us to their staging area and Mayor Pete Silvestri.  Another recently discharged Marine, Michael Nichol was there and we swept him into our group, welcoming him, too as the returning hero that he is. From there we headed to downtown Elmwood Park along with the police and fire departments, the mayor and city manager.  After circling the town square a few times, we gathered in front of City Hall for a little ceremony.
Speaking first, Corporal Szepi briefly thanked us; it was emotional, heartfelt and powerful.
Mayor Silvestri spoke, we did our presentation, William and Michael signed the Welcome Home banner and we were off…after a lot more hugging and kissing.
As we were getting ready to leave my wife, who wasn’t feeling well and decided to come along at the last minute looked at me, eyes still moist and smiled.  It was a great mission.
Bob Abrams/RC
Road name:  Yoda