Connecticut Cruise News – Jul/Aug 2012

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Patriot Guard Riders

The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders started off this issue standing a flag line on June 6th in Manchester and Coventry for James Marvin, who served in the Army, Navy, and Hartford Police department. Most recently he was activated by the CT National Guard and served in Afghanistan. On June 7th, we had a Honor Mission in Waterbury and Watertown for Ricky Richmond, who served in the National Guard during the Vietnam era. Ricky died in a motorcycle accident in Watertown, and his obituary stated “he died doing something he loved to do”.

On June 9th, we had a pair of Honor Missions on different sides of the state. The first was in New London for Marion Bannon, who served as a Sgt. in the Army, stationed in Germany in the 70’s. The second was in North Haven for Louis Anthony Della Camera, a Marine Corps veteran from Vietnam. On June 10th, we stood a flag line at a ceremony in Meriden where the CT Chapter of “Honor and Remember” presented a personalized flag to the family of Army Pvt. Leonard Baransky.

On June 16th, we stood a Honor Mission in Mystic for one of our own, Bruce Dora, an Army veteran and a proud CT PGR member who attended many missions, standing the flag line for others to show his respect. We were honored to be asked to stand a flag line at the funeral home to show our respect for this Patriot. That same evening, we stood a flag line in New London at a special Veterans Art Exhibit, where teenagers and recently returning soldiers worked together to design and create works of art that would tell the soldiers stories.

On June 22nd, we stood a Honor Mission in Bethel for Fredrick Murkland, a Navy veteran of WWII, serving on two hospital ships and a minesweeper. On June 23rd, we stood a kind of different mission. Army Spc. Philip Schiller was KIA in Afghanistan on April 11th from small arms fire. Spc. Schiller’s decorations included the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the Army Acheivement Medal among others. Spc. Schiller had recently relocated to Texas, where he was buried, but many family members still reside in CT so we held a Honor Mission here also. Since he spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors there, the ceremony was held in Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted, with the Lt Govenor in attendance, among others, to show her respect.

On June 27th, we had our final Honor Mission of the month. This one in Mystic for Herbert Raymond Pray, an Air Force veteran.

That’s it for the missions since the last CT Cruise News issue deadline. We hope we provided some peace to the familys of the heroes we paid our final respects to. 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.

I’d like to remind folks that the PGR stands flag lines for veterans from any branch of the service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves). We stand flag lines for veterans no matter if they served overseas on in the continental US. We stand flag lines for veterans who died on active service, and veterans that died years after their service. But THE FAMILY HAS TO REQUEST OUR PRESENCE. We do not show up in-invited. So if you know anyone who has lost a veteran, please spread the word. It’s heart-breaking to see these heroes not have a presence at their funeral honoring their service to our country.

The CT Patriot Guard has a new website, that we’re extremely proud of. Go to www.ctpatriotguard.org to check it out or to join up.                                                                                                         (Article by Jay D Koonz)