Respectfully submitted by Tool Man

Mostly sunny. Temperatures approaching the upper forties. Dry roads for a change, and clear of the slush, standing water, and debris that comes with what for New Jersey has been an unusually brutal winter. A good day to ride. An excellent day, in fact, as we were riding to welcome home DJ Vanatter. DJ was home from his third tour,one in Afghanistan, two in Iraq, and we were going to make some noise for him.

Twenty-five riders assembled in the parking lot of Racks Bar and Grill, in Atco. Included were the Warriors Watch Riders, members of the Defenders MC, and members of both the Camden County and Burlington County HOGs. We were joined by officers from the Waterford Township Police Department, who were instrumental in helping me secure the services of the Berlin and Winslow Township Police Departments for those intersections where they were needed.

Shortly before KSU, DJ’s mom arrived, and I introduced her to the crowd.

Needless to say, she was very excited to see the number of folks who had turned out to welcome her son. I gave a quick ride briefing, and we saddled up, fired up our scoots, and with mom in the passenger seat of the lead LEO escort vehicle, took off for DJ’s home.

The residence was not far away, so even traveling at a leisurely pace we arrived after only a few minutes. To be sure, they were noisy minutes, with horns blowing and engines revving as we rolled through the development. I had assured Mom that we would, if need be, haul him, kicking and screaming, back with us, but as you might expect, that wasn’t entirely necessary. By the time I had my kickstand down and the engine off, DJ was out front, getting about the biggest hug it is possible to get from his mom. We treated him to our traditional mug and hug, and invited him to an escort back to Racks. We then mounted back up, and with our hero, his wife, mother, and little daughter in their vehicle, took off to deliver DJ to what awaited him. More horns, more twisting of throttles, more excited neighbors realizing that something was up, and poking their heads out their doors to see what was going on, we wound around the development, eventually coming out the way we had come in.

What awaited DJ Vanatter, of course, as we pulled back into Racks, was a parking lot full of smiling, cheering faces. Family, friends, the Yellow Ribbon Club, the New Jersey Gold Star Mothers, the Waterford township Fire Department, all had materialized in the brief interval between our departure and our return. We parked our scooters and joined DJ and the rest of the crowd. The Yellow Ribbon Club did their thing, introducing DJ to the crowd and welcoming him home YRC fashion. They presented him with their

traditional yellow ribbon, and concrete “bling”. I presented him with our

magic coin and once again thanked him for his service. A few more kind words for, and a few from our man of the hour, and we left our hero and his loved ones to enjoy a well deserved celebration.

A fine day, and another very fine job fellow members of the Warriors Watch Riders.