A Hero’s Ride; Mission Accomplished
May 17, 2009
In the Central Texas city of Harker Heights, a group of military veterans set out on a very special mission to honor a Soldier currently stationed at Fort Hood, who’s in a valiant fight against cancer. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Motorcycle Group Unit 14, which is part of the VFW Post 3892 stepped up to the plate by hosting A Hero’s Ride to raise funds to ease the financial burden on Sgt. Anson Martin an aircraft hydraulics specialist assigned to 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR and his family as they continue the battle his disease. The group couldn’t have picked a more fitting day to hold the ride, as Saturday May 16th was Armed Forces Day. What better way to show your appreciation for our Troops, than to do what has to be done, to help a soldier in need.
Between the hours of 0600 and 0800, the parking lot of the VFW filled with motorcycles of all types, as well as passenger vehicles, who would also follow the motorcyclists on their mission that day. Prior to beginning the ride, the State of Texas State Senior Vice-Commander presented Sgt. Martin and his family with a check to pay off their car, as well as presenting the family several other gifts. Sgt. Martin also participated in the ride, riding with one of the members of VFW Motorcycle Group #14 in a sidecar and recording the entire ride on video. Sgt. Martin’s family was able to participate as well, as the State of Texas VFW provided a van and driver at their disposal for the day. Shortly after the ride began, a steady rain began falling. While the rainfall discouraged some from continuing on the ride, over half of the riders and their passengers remained dedicated to completing the mission and arrived at the final destination in Temple, Tx. After leaving the post in Harker Heights, riders then headed towards their first stop at VFW Post 3393 in Kempner, Tx. Shortly after the ride began, the rain began falling steadily, accompanied by wind. Members of the post had hot coffee and donuts waiting for the soaked riders as they arrived. After a short time in Kempner, the riders headed north to VFW Post 8230 in Gatesville, where they were met more coffee and donuts and a place to rest and dry off a bit, before heading towards Belton. As the riders left Gatesville, the rain subsided for a short period of time, before picking up again and ensuring that everyone arrived at Belton Lake VFW Post. Riders were greeted with plenty of dry towels, meat, cheese and crackers along with plenty more hot coffee. The marquee in front of the VFW at Belton Lake proudly stated “Welcome Sgt. Martin,” so there was no doubt that they were glad to be participating in this important event. Members of the Belton Lake VFW Post also presented Sgt. Martin with a check for donations that they had collected in his behalf. Riders dried off and rested a bit before heading for the final destination, the VFW Post in Temple, and a meal in honor of Sgt Martin and his family. A total of 120 riders signed up, 100 began the ride with 55 actually completing the 96 mile ride.
After a wonderful meal at the Temple VFW, the President of the VFW Motorcycle Group Unit 14, commanders of Sgt. Martin’s Squadron presented the VFW Motorcycle Group Unit 14 with a plaque expressing their appreciation for the group coordinating the benefit Hero’s Ride. Unit 14’s President, Allen Freeman then shared that the benefit had raised over $7,000 to assist Sgt Martin and his family and presented Sgt. Martin with US Army and US Marine Corps flags that had been signed by all the motorcyclists and their riders. Sgt. Martin expressed his heartfelt appreciation at the generosity and kindness that the Central Texas Community and most importantly, the VFW Motorcycle Group Unit 14 and Department of Texas VFW have bestowed upon him and his family, during this trying time.
The dedication of the members of the VFW Motorcycle Group, Unit 14 in Harker Heights, Texas is truly inspirational. They believe and demonstrate what the term “Veterans Helping Veterans” means in their actions and their words. I was honored to be able to participate in this very special Hero’s Ride and was inspired by the dedication of each and every person that I came into contact with during the ride. The kindness, generosity and willingness of this group to help other veterans and soldiers in need, sets a very high standard for other VFW Motorcycle Groups to follow.
Sgt. Anson Martin is an amazing young man. His optimism, faith, positive attitude and determination to overcome and conquer his disease are truly inspirational and amazing. He exemplifies the true warrior spirit that is so inherent in our Troops and our Veterans. Sgt. Anson Martin is a true hero in every sense of the word.
You can read the original article I wrote about this ride, here. In that article, you’ll also find a link to Sgt. Martin’s Caring Bridge page as well.