FORT HOOD, Texas (Dec. 21, 2015) -- More than 60 Soldiers, with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, rode their motorcycles to the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home, in Temple, Texas, Dec. 18, to spend time with veterans.
Decked out in military uniforms, the bikers performed safety checks and headed out in 35-degree chill to spend the day sharing camaraderie and holiday cheer with the vets. First starting out with bingo, the Soldiers and veterans home residents settled into an afternoon swapping stories and enjoying each other's company.
"We came here today to visit the veterans and pay our respects to them," said Spc. Devin Henson, a Moore, Oklahoma, native, and Soldier with the 3rd Engineer Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, or ABCT, 1st Cavalry Division. "We learned about their history in the military and thanked them for their service, because if it wasn't for them enlisting, we wouldn't even be here today being able to serve our country."
When Soldiers participate in a motorcycle mentorship ride, they usually ride to a destination focusing on riding safe and turn around to head back. But the 3rd ABCT wanted to make this ride more meaningful.
Earlier in the day, an Air Force veteran, Raymond Lambring, passed away at the home. As the staff was transporting him to the funeral home, the Soldiers lined the hallways of the facility to pay their respects. Six Greywolf Soldiers served as pallbearers, transporting him through the hallway lined on both sides with veterans, Soldiers and the facility staff.
"I volunteered as a pallbearer," Henson said. "I feel very honored to be able to do this today. It's a very sad day for everyone in the military and for everyone in the United States. A comrade has fallen today."
Lambring's Family was there to witness the Soldiers saluting as the former airman was carried out of the facility.
"It's very nice," said Kenneth Lambring, Raymond's son. "At home where I live in Arlington, there are a lot of people that do this for veterans. Thank you for coming and being a part of it."
While sad, the ceremony did not put a damper on the day's events. The service members - current and retired - spent the rest of the afternoon sharing war stories and life lessons. The residents even got an opportunity to step outside to check out the Soldiers' various bikes.
"Thank you for your service," said Henson speaking of the retired veterans. "I'm very grateful for what they have done and how much they sacrificed for this country."