FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Like a scene in a movie, a seemingly endless trail of motorcycles with leather-clad riders pulled into the circular drive of the Powless Guest House Oct. 9.

Thirty-nine bikes and trikes, four support vehicles and one big truck were greeted by Warriors in Transition, their Family members, Brooke Army Medical Center staff and folks from the Warrior and Family Support Center as the lead bike with its display of rear-mounted billowing flags pulled to a stop.

The American Legion Riders of the Southwest gathered in Fort Stockton, N.M., to begin the two-day trek to deliver a truckload and a trailer filled with goods as their way of saying "thank you" and in hopes of making life just a little better for the troops and their Families who have given so much to their country.

The transport truck, donated by ITO Umzuge, an international transport organization, as well as the driver and fuel, was filled with boxes of handmade quilts, lap robes, pillowcases, underwear, baby formula, socks and toiletries, as well as other goods.
This is the least our company can do, said Kurt Lueck, vice president of ITO Umzuge.
Thirteen American Legion Chapters work year-round to collect donations for Operation Wounded Warrior.

Ed "Wishbone" Summerall, OWW Committee Chairman, said, "We held a dinner and dance. We raised $8,300 in one night."

Aaron "Rud Doctor" Dean, state president said, "We advertised that we would be at Wal-Mart collecting items in boxes and I met one guy who pulled up to the curb, jumped out and said, 'I didn't come to shop, I came to give,' and he handed us a $100 bill."

Victor Moss, also known as "Doc, the mad rocket scientist" and his wife, Maria, collected blankets as well as other donated items. "We are trying to concentrate on the Soldiers when they reach the Veterans Administration. They need the support after they get out as much a when they were in," said Doc.

Once the bikes were parked and the group welcomed by those standing around to watch their arrival, the motorcyclists showed their emotions as they held up handmade quilts, lap robes and pillowcases donated by the Enchanted Quilters Guild of Alamogordo, N.M. In all more than $35,000 worth of dry goods were presented to the Soldiers and their Families.

Accepting the gifts on their behalf was Judith Markelz, director of the Warrior and Family Support Center. Though a bit choked up from the outpouring of care, Markelz said, "I am speechless, and for those of you that know me, that is unheard of."

Along with the dry goods, about $23,000 worth of phone cards and commissary gift cards was presented. Topping off the list of gifts, Summerall presented Markelz a box full of cards, letters and self-addressed stamped envelopes to be given to the Soldiers to read, simply letting them know how much they are loved and appreciated.

Markelz thanked the group for their generosity and said, "I hope I never see you back here, because that would mean the war is over. But folks, this is grass roots America. This is what it is. This group asks nothing of us. Thank you."

(Cheryl Harrison works for the Fort Sam Houston Army Community Service, Marketing)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16