Over the past several months a lot of people have coordinated the welcome of five veterans who got on bicycles and rode 4,000 miles from Washington, D.C., to LaPush, Wash. One can only imagine what they endured or enjoyed along the way, but they all had the experience of a lifetime. To learn more about the Warrior Expeditions group go to https://warriorexpeditions.org.
On this end of the trail there were from the Peninsula Trails Coalition Jeff Bohman, Board President, and Tom Coonelly, Olympic Peninsula MOAA, who were doing the heavy lifting.
Closer to home there were great folks over at LaPush including Zachary Jones, Vice Chairman and Rio Jaime, Treasurer from the Quileute Tribal Council. We also had a Tribal Elder, Thomas Jackson, one of the greatest storytellers I know besides being a Vietnam veteran. Rio, Zach and Thomas came to greet the riders with a welcome, special gift and welcome song. We even enjoyed the drum songs from a few others during the first meeting. It’s great having neighbors and friends like the people of LaPush.
Also in LaPush is Coast Guard Station Quileute River. My great thanks to Petty Officer James Thrall, Operations Officer for the station and someone I call friend. He and his group were of great help by allowing the storage of the bicycles for later pickup after the riders had headed for home.
Of course I am not forgetting my fellow members of Forks American Legion Post 106 and the Forks Elks Lodge, who made this work and kept me out of trouble as much as possible. We had help from veterans like Skip Barnes and Paul Hampton who stood ready at the Elks for almost anything, and who provided lodging and a meal for a couple of the riders as they made the last leg of the ride.
And then there were the guys from Post 106 who you see in every photo with the riders. Commander Bubba Bolin, Sgt. at Arms Rick Seguin, Mike Marshal and I were there to welcome fellow veterans and enjoy being part of their return. I wanted to try to provide a little more coordination than we had last year, when it was the first year and not much was known about the program. I also wanted the riders to know that the gang on the Pacific Coast knew who was coming to visit and appreciated what they had done.
All I can say is THANK YOU to all who were part of this. Every rider expressed that they would not forget our welcome: Jared Sainato, Army; Carlos Monterroza, Marines; Richard Rivdeneira, Marines; David Davila, Army; and Michael Buckley, Army.