Ride Report for Ride Captain HowardK


On Friday afternoon September 14th Warriors Watch Riders were joined by A Hero’s Welcome to honor and surprise Cpl Jennifer Mercado as she returned to her family in Philadelphia after a six month deployment in Afghanistan.


Jennifer Mercado, a graduate of Mariana Bracetti Academy, spent her senior year training for what would be her future. She enlisted in the United States Marine Corps right after graduation. She served as a MWHS 3/ Supply Specialist, Unit 41007. Jennifer’s mother describes her as a Marine in mind, body and soul.


Warrior’s Watch Riders were invited by Jenn’s mother Lizette Braban to surprise Jenifer and escort her home the Warriors Watch Way. Lizzette was communicating with Jennifer while she was deployed. To keep her spirits high she asked Jenn what she would like when she returns home. Her answer, “all I want is a big welcome home like the ones I see on TV”. “I want to feel the sacrifices by myself and my unit were not in vain.” Well Jenn…..THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!!!!


Warrior’s Watch Riders and A Hero’s Welcome met at their rallye point at Firebase 69 on Bartram Ave. We were joined By Lizette, Keanon, Robert, Sugey, Aida and Lisa as well as by Philadelphia PD Officers Matos and Higginson. We held our ride briefing telling everyone assembled about Jennifer, her family and military history. We also presented Jenn’s nephew Robert a Kathryn Fialkowski Memorial Certificate in recognition of his patriotism and support of our men and women in the United States Armed Forces.


We were then led to PHL International by Philadelphia’s finest and parked our entourage at the door of terminal D. The family proceeded upstairs and stood at the arrival gate. Every member of the family carried a picture of Jennifer or banner welcoming her home. The surprised HERO arrived at 4:50 to the delight of all family assembled. With pictures and banners in hand, Jennifer and her family proceeded toward the baggage return. The returning HERO was met at the top of the escalator by the RC, and on behalf of Warrior’s Watch, was welcomed home to Philadelphia. She then saw the flag lined steps beside the escalator where WWR members had stood to await her arrival. She was met and greeted by all of the members. After retrieving her baggage we exited the terminal where Jennifer and her family got into a large Dodge truck for the escort home.


Led by Officer Matos of the Philadelphia PD, the procession of police, motorcycles and cars made its way onto a “CLOSED DOWN” route 95 onto Delaware Avenue and along Aramingo Avenue. As we turned onto the final street, many neighbors had their homes decorated with American flags. We made our way to the family home where a large WELCOME HOME JENNIFER banner was hung. We were greeted by more friends and neighbors as well as by a cameraman from CBS TV3 Philadelphia who covered the event to be aired later in the day.

WWR Marine veteran William Thomas came forward and presented Cpl. Mercado with our Warrior’s Watch Honor coin and thanked her for her service and dedication. Tom O’Shea, representing A Hero’s Welcome, then presented a certificate to Jennifer giving her thanks from a grateful nation. Next, WWR member Dutch came forward and presented Honor Beads he had made and described to Cpl. Mercado the meaning of each of the colors in the string.


In true WWR tradition we then formed for a group picture with our returning hero joined by her very proud family standing in front of the Welcome Home banner that adorned the front of the home.


Warriors’ Watch Riders would like to thank Lizette Braban, Keanon, Aida, Lisa, Sugey and Robert and the entire famiy for inviting us to be part of this Welcome Home for Jennifer. Thank you to A Hero’s Welcome for your energetic and unending support and recognition of our returning hero’s. We would like to thank Officers Matos and Higginson of the Philadelphia PD who provided an AWESOME and safe escort for the final leg home. We also thank PHL airport police and security for again providing energetic and patriotic support for our returning Marine.


Most of all, THANK YOU Cpl. Jennifer Mercado for your service, sacrifice and dedication to keeping us all free and safe back here at home!


SEMPER FI !!!!!!!!!!



Respectfully submitted by RC HowardK

Pictures courtesy of Bikerider, Acirillo and Tom