Ride Report posted by Lutz


During his humble speech after we had brought Matt safely home to NE Philadelphia, he said something that I totally agree with him on. He said, first that “Afghanistan sucks.” Well, we all know that one.

But then he said also that “Hawaii sucks.” Now that was a new one. Matt had just flown in from  Hawaii, he is stationed there, so he had the ability to make some comparisons. To Matt, and this is what he said,

“There’s nothing like Philly Love.”  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Matt’s mom Cindy contacted us about doing a Welcome Home for him, she already knew the drill – she knew the rally point and our procedures, because she had just come along on a Welcome Home for Matt’s friend, Lance Cpl VanHam, two weeks prior. Now it was Matt’s turn, and we were not about to be outdone.

It was a Friday afternoon, around rush-hour. In fact, it was the Friday before a long 3-day 4th of July weekend, and it was also hot. Just the kind of conditions that WWRiders thrive in.

By the time the last of the stragglers rolled in to the Firehouse rally point, we had already assembled 30 motorcycles and assorted other vehicles. The turnout was tremendous given the conditions, and we were all prepped and psyched for a greeting.

Ride to the Airport with no issues, we lined the stairway leading down to the baggage claim area, so as to force him down the escallater to get his handshakes and hugs and backslaps, sort of a forced running of the gauntlett.

Cindy Ragen, the mom, father Ron and Sister Lindsey were boxed in by bikes in red convertable, and when the Philadelphia Police Traffic unit arrived I was able to breathe easy, knowing we were in good hands despite the holiday traffic and late afternoon hour.

Sure enough, the escort to the family home in NorthEast Philly was uneventful, if you can call a roaring, revving, flag-flying, horn-blowing motorcycle  escort “uneventful.”

Lots of friends and family awaited us at the family home, and it was touching for me to see the happiness, pride and satisfaction in the face of our subject, Cpl. Matt Ragen, United States Marine Corps.

Matt, you are a Marine today, and you will be a veteran for the rest of your life, and a brother-in-arms.

Welcome Home!

Photos by Sean Carpenter. Click here for more.