Connecticut Cruise News – May/Jun 2011

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The Connecticut Patriot Guard Riders have been busy since the last Cruise News issue, starting off with an Honor Mission on Apr 14th for John Rossick in North Branford & Middletown. John was a decorated WWII Army veteran landing at Normandy during D-Day and fighting across France, the Ardennes, Belgium, Rhineland, and Czechoslovakia, receiving multiple Purple Hearts, 5 Bronze Stars, and the French Croix de Guerre. Another Honor Mission followed on Apr 18th in Danbury for John Edward Denny, an Army veteran from Vietnam. The next day, Apr 19th brought another Honor Mission in Brookfield & Danbury for Paul Scott Clayton, a National Guard veteran. Two days later on Apr 21st, we were on the road again, this time for an Honor Mission in Stamford & Darien for Harry King, a WWII Army veteran serving in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe in the 643rd Tank Destroyer Battalion.

Then came a very busy week for the PGR, 5 Honor Missions in the same week, exhausting but it was an honor to show our final respects to these veterans. It started off on Monday Apr 25th with an Honor Mission in Norwich for Richard Jursz, a Navy veteran during Vietnam. Tuesday Apr 26th brought another Honor Mission in Clinton for Daniel Vece Jr, a WWII Marine Corps veteran who fought on Iwo Jima. Two days later, Apr 28th brought another Honor Mission in New Britain & Rocky Hill for Richard Buys, an Army veteran of the Korean War. The next day Apr 29th  brought another Honor Mission. This one in Ansonia & Derby for Shane Morneau, who served in the Navy aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during Desert Storm. Shane died in a motorcycle accident and at least 50 of his riding buddies escorted him from the funeral home to the cemetery. The weeks mission ended with a final Honor Mission on Apr 30th in Canterbury for T.A.Cox, a WWII Navy veteran.

The next mission on May 6th was one of our upbeat missions. We teamed with the Minuteman Riders to escort Marine Cpl Hunter McGuiness from Danbury to his home in Brookfield. Hunter was home on leave after 7 months in Afghanistan. There were a couple dozen bikes in the escort, and about 8 members waiting at his home with flags to show our appreciation for his service.

The last mission for this issue was on May 7th in Somers, the New England Regional Chili Cook-off. This event run by Michael Freedman benefits the CT PGR and the Somers Fire Department. We are grateful to Michael, the many volunteers that helped out, and all the vendors and attendees for their support. This was the CT PGR’s 1st major fund-raiser of the year.

Well, that’s it for our recent missions, but I’d like to mention our upcoming poker run. 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.

I’d like to remind people reading this that may be thinking “well my father fought in WWII but he didn’t do anything special, I wouldn’t feel right asking the PGR to stand a flag line.” That’s not true, if they served in any capacity in the Armed Forces, the PGR is honored to stand for them. This service is available to ALL veterans. It doesn’t matter if it’s a funeral for a recent OEF casualty or a World War II veteran or for a serviceman/servicewoman that served in the military during peacetime. It doesn’t matter if the individual served in the Army, the Air Force, the Navy, the Marines, the Coast Guard, the National Guard, or the Reserves. It doesn’t matter how the veteran died, while on active duty or merely of “old age” 50 years after they served. It doesn’t matter if they served overseas or in the US. It doesn’t matter if they were decorated or not. They are all heroes in our eyes for serving their country, and we would be honored to be given the chance to show our respect by standing a flag line and/or providing a motorcycle escort. But the family has to make the request, we don’t show up if we’re not invited. So I encourage all of you to keep this in mind if you have a relative or friend that was a veteran pass away, get the family’s permission and then contact the PGR to get the process rolling.

Bob “Airwolf” Stone  –  (203)650-0861 or bob@careerresources.org

We are also happy and honored to provide escorts for returning servicemen or women, either a group or just an individual, often teaming up with the New York state PGR to provide a continuous escort from airport to home.

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.