Guard members thank Patriot Guard Riders
By Penny Ripperger, 119th Wing
/ Published March 25, 2008
February 9, 2008 -- Fargo, N.D. -On Saturday, Feb. 9th members of the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) were invited to the 119th Wing, N.D. Air National Guard for a "meet and greet" with local military members who want to thank the volunteers for their continued support.
Since the group's inception, PGR has volunteered extensively in the N.D. Air and Army National Guard. In addition to being present at homecomings and send-off ceremonies, they also have supported every soldier funeral within the state.
"The Patriot Guard has done an outstanding job of supporting our troops. Sometimes they travel long distances or take time away from work to show their support for us. I have seen them stand out in the rain, in the cold or scorching heat, never complaining, just holding those big American flags. It's very impressive," said Chief Master Sgt. Brad Johnson, 119th Wing member and event organizer.
Some members hold dual roles as PGR members and members in the National Guard.
"Being part of the Patriot Guard has been such a rewarding experience. It's one way that I can show support and respect for the military in my state. Having so many family members and friends in the Guard, it's comforting to know that I also have my PGR family for support whenever and wherever they are needed," said Master Sgt. Teresa Terry, 119th Wing member and PGR ride captain.
PGR originally was created as a way to shield mourning family members from protestors at military funerals. As invited guests of the family, the PGR lines the streets and walkways into the church with their motorcycles and American flags, shielding the grieving family and attendees from seeing or hearing protestors.
Today, the PGR has grown in the number of its members as well as its functions. In addition to supporting military events, the group also is active with benefit motorcycle runs, to include a memorial ride honoring a local soldier who was killed in action.
"Every year we will honor a different KIA until we have done them all," Terry said.
PGR also focuses on helping local veterans with a program called "Help on the Home Front." The program assists veterans and their families in overcoming challenges often resulting from an overseas deployment.
In addition to supporting local military members and veterans, the organization also finds a way to help deployed Soldiers and Airmen.
"If there is something that deployed individuals need and we find out about it, it is posted on our Web site and we usually get it done," Terry said.