Ride Report posted for Paulie B

This mission was requested by Judi Tapper of the Gold Star Mothers. Judi lost her only son and became involved in GSM. Judi is really involved, she is the National Pin Captain, the Dept of NJ President of the Gold Star Mothers and the Camden CountyChapter President. Judi is responsible for raising $40,000.00 from selling pins. She is a very special woman.

So as a result of Judi’s call a 2-fer was arranged. Everyone rallied at the Louden Fire Co in Atco, NJ. A short bio was presented on each HERO. The Atco War Memorial group brought their own Welcome Wagon float and fell in formation behind some of our bikes led by Atco LEO to our first stop. First up was SGT Thomas Simpson, ANG 24 yrs of service. Tom is married to Roxanne and they have 2 children, Alexandra age 15 and Tommy age 11. We stopped in front of the Simpson household and set up a flag line on their yard after our horns and pipe music seranade.

I knocked and Tom answered and was greeted by 40 some bikes and about 50 plus bikers.

Tom was mugged and hugged and then he quickly took his position on the float. Every family member was then also greeted by loud cheers and non stop clapping. Ok flags folded back on the bikes rolling over to Jim Duda’s house about 3 miles away.

SSG James Duda, ANG-24 years of service. Married to Danielle with 3 children, Jessica age 15, Kallie age 11 and Alyssa age 9.

A flag line was established on the Duda front lawn. KNOCK-KNOCK and and our Hero answers and I invite him to come outside to meet about 50 of my closest friends. Jim jumps on the float and off we go to th ATCO Veterans pavillion.
When we turned the corner in downtown Atco we were greeted by a whole mess-o-people,flags and the War Memorial Pavillion. What a thing of beauty,32′ x 74′ open airbpavillion with restrooms and it was lights camersmand action. Our dear friends from the Yellow Ribbion club made a presentation then as our own Kathy Pickton & Jay Fayer “coined” our heroes, I did my best emcee gig and told the crowd about our Honor coin and all the smybolism behind the coin. Afterwards 4 people from the crowd came up and complimented about how much they loved hearing about our coin and its symbolism. Col. Al Bancroft was present with two of his grandchildren, did his usual MAGIC with the crowd and presentated his medals then fades into thr background. Next up was Judy from the Gold Star Mothers made her presentationand was followed by a second GSM with a huge snack basket.

I got a tap on my shoulder from “Tiny” whos spied a young soldier n the crowd and lickety split this young man had a Honor coin of his own.He was Ryan Tilghman, US Army, (his rank has slipped my mind) is heading to Iraq in October. I told his dad to contact us for a send off or when Ryan returns for a welcome home.

What an event tonight was, Kathy Pickton was our second woman to present a coin, our heroes were very touched by the turnout and I could have made a mint selling tissues. If you look close at the pictures you can see Sgt Simpson has the flag on his right sleeve on upside down. When I mentioned it to him, he said he knew something was up at his house while waiting and that he was “stressing” so his son was kidding around and put the flag on upside down along with other patches to keep his Dad on his toes and to ease his stress. Nice job Tommy it worked.

When it was all said and done I spoke with Judi and she was thrilled and pleased beyond measure. We hugged and kissed good by and I am sure we will be seeing her at the parade in Marlton on July 4.

Our 2-fer was our best mission yet, but wait I say that after every mission…and can one really be better than the rest? I will plead the 5th on this and let you all decide. Special thanks go to the Nam Knights, Legion Riders, Yellow Ribbon Club and Judi Tapper, Kathy & Bob Hick and the rest of the Gold Star Mothers group.

Here are some pictures from tonight.Thanks go to Kathleen my lovely wife whom everyone has named the “BOSS”. Now how’s that for a road name?????