Connecticut Cruise News – Apr/May 2011

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The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off the month with a rainy mission on May 16th in East Haven for Scott Ingraham, a SRT sniper who served during the Gulf War era. In civilian life, he worked as a paramedic and there were several ambulance companies in attendance at the funeral. Two days later, on Mar 18th, we stood another Honor Mission in Higganum for James Czepiel, who served with the Army in Vietnam. This was an “early Spring day” with exceptionally nice weather, sunny in the 60’s, and there were 22 bikes and several cages (automobiles) in attendance.

On Mar 24th, the PGR stood an Honor Mission for USMC LCpl Joseph Schiano in Riverside. Schiano served two tours in Afghanistan, only to die in a car accident at the age of 23 while home on leave. Many attending members remember him from the Welcome Home mission for him and Lt Michael Fanell that we had back in December. As a matter of fact, the picture of him in his dress uniform in the obituary was taken at that very same Welcome Home. Sad memories for those that attended both of those missions.

Mar 29th brought another Honor Mission, this one in Derby for Andrew Natale, who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, spending some of his time serving in Germany with one of our Ride Captains. The very next day, Mar 30th, brought another Honor Mission. This one for Norman LaVoie, who served in the Army during WWII in the South Pacific, being awarded multiple citations. He was the father of a CT PGR member, making this another tough mission. Two days later, Apr 1st, we stood another Honor Mission in West Haven for Bruce Brescia, a Marine Sergeant during the Vietnam War who received several medals and commendations.

On Apr 5th, there was an Honor Mission at a memorial service in Plainfield for SSG Frank Adamski, a recent casualty from Operation Enduring Freedom. This hero will be laid to rest in ArlingtonNationalCemetery at a later date, and the memorial service was well attended with representatives from numerous other veteran and motorcycle organizations. Frank was a good friend of one of our CT PGR members and we shared his pain.

Apr 6th was the most difficult mission of the month for many, an Honor Mission for Bill Carr in Morris. Bill was a long-time member of the CT PGR, who had developed many tight friendships in the group over the years. Bill lost a long battle with cancer, and it was a very emotional day for some of the members closest to him. Bill’s brother Randy honored him by riding Bill’s motorcycle as part of the funeral procession escort. It was a cold, dreary day, but the light rain held off until the very end of the cemetery service, prompting one member to comment “even the clouds were weeping for Bill.”

The last recent mission was a more upbeat one. On Apr 10th, several members attended the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day at CheshireHigh School. We were there to show respect and “Welcome Home” these Vietnam veterans who were denied a real Welcome Home forty odd years ago. Seeing the vehicles of that era on display and listening to Huey fly-over brought back memories, some good, some bad, for many veterans in attendance. Hopefully the companionship and the numerous Welcome Homes helped.

Well, that’s it for our recent missions, but I’d like to mention a couple upcoming activities.

On Saturday May 7th, the New England Regional Chili Cook Off will occur in Somers, CT at Pleasant View Golf on Rt-83. This is one of the major fund-raisers for the CT PGR, so please consider attending. Wander around, sample the chili from the various contestants, visit the vendors, and have a good time. Admission is $5 and two canned goods that will be donated to the local food bank. Visit www.chilict.com for more information.

On Sunday May 15th, the CT PGR will sponsor a “Respect Our Veterans Poker Run” which is the PGR’s 2nd major fundraiser for the year. Starting and ending at the VFW on Rt-68 in Prospect. Come early for breakfast, then enjoy the ride thru west central CT, and then stay for the BBQ lunch, live band, and door prizes.

I encourage you all to attend to show respect for our veterans and support the mission of the PGR. Visit www.ctpatriotguard.org for more information, or to signup online before May 7th.

That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. As always, we invite you to come out and join us in our mission to honor this country’s veterans at their funeral services. Come out to one, grab a Flag and stand alongside us, experience the same satisfaction the rest of us do. You’ll be back.

Go to www.patriotguard.org for more information or to join up.