Bright and early Saturday morning we went to the local VFW where the local National Guard dawgs were holding sign ups and starting the poker run being held in the memory of our son. After a week of rain we were glad to see the sun shining. I took the 3 large pictures of Micheal we have so that those riding would be able to see his beautiful smile and remember we are doing this for his brothers. The run was to raise money for Wounded Warriors Project.
These are a great group of men and women. There was another Gold Star father who rode with us also. Lots of hugs were given. The local police gave us an escort to the first stop of the run. It was eerie... I followed the bikes in my car to the first stop and the police were behind me. For a moment it took me back to March 2008 and the day Pokey came home. It was hard to fight the tears.
The first stop was the Veterans Home here in town. A lot of the men came out to see the bikes and just hang with the riders. All of the riders took the time to thank each of the veterans for their service and answer thier questions about the bikes.
My husband and the rest of the riders then headed out the next stop. I went tot he last stop which is another Veterans Home in a town about 30 miles away. I spent most of the day there greeting riders and talking with the Veterans there.
One gentleman in particular grabbed my ear and we sat and talk for quite a long time. Mr Cooper collects hats and pins and I offered to contact a few organizations and have them send some things to him so he gave me his address. then he asked me if I would write him letters. I told him I would be honored to. And I gave him my address so he could write me also. As we talked he asked about my son.. he didn't realize that the Poker Run was being held in memory of my son. He then shared a great deal of his life story with me. I got the feeling it was something he doesn't do often and I was glad to be able to give him an ear to listen as he purged some of his demons.
After the last group of riders got to the stop I headed back to town to attend the BBQ being held for the riders. It was great to be able to sit and talk with the group. The gentleman who won the pot broke the tradition of donating the winnings back to the charity the ride was being held for and called my youngest son to the front and gave him the money. I then asked my son if he wanted to keep the money or give it to Wounded warriors Project. He gave it back. I was very proud of him for that. Not many 11 yr olds would have done that. I will be giving him the same amount to spend out of my own packet.
Next year we will be doing it all again. There was some discussion of holding it for another charity and I along with a few others will be looking for one we find worthy. Not that Wounded Warriors isn't. But we kind of want to spread the generosity of these riders.
I was very proud to have my son's name on this ride. It was for me a way to continue to carry on his fight by continuing to take care of his brothers in arms the best we can.