Fox 23 Tulsa: Marine Biking Across America Makes Mother’s Day Surprise

By Ian Silver | Fox 23 News | | May 8, 2011


A U.S. Marine who served in Afghanistan and Iraq is riding his bicycle across America to raise money for a great cause, and Sunday he made a special stop in his home town of Tulsa to surprise his mom for Mother’s Day.

Maj. Bill Conner started his 33-hundred-mile journey across the U.S. on Easter, and is hoping to finish in Ocean View, Delaware by Memorial Day. Along the way he’s hoping to raise $35,500 for the Semper Fi Fund to help his fellow servicemen and women who come back from overseas with injuries.


Sunday he surprised the woman who quite possibly could be the proudest mother on the planet.


“I haven’t seen him since December, 2009,” Maj. Conner’s mother, Mary Ann Conner, said. “And I just want to see what he looks like!”

Mary Ann Conner was absolutely beaming Sunday, barely able to control her excitement as she waited for her son to arrive at a park along the bike trail at 41st Street and Riverside Drive.


“Just total happiness,” she said. “I’m just so excited. And what a wonderful Mother’s Day gift I get from both my sons.”

She spots an American flag waving behind a bike off in the distance.


“I couldn’t wait, I haven’t seen you,” she squealed with excitement as she hugged and kissed her son for the first time. “I love you! Oh, I love you so much. Oh, my God I’m so happy!”


She fights back tears as she tries to explain the feelings of the moment.


“Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. My husband’s in heaven looking down on all of this. I can’t describe it in words. I’m speechless. And I’m not a woman who normally is speechless.”


“I didn’t know she could run that fast,” Maj. Conner said. “She was supposed to wait, actually, but I guess she couldn’t wait.”

With flowers in hand, Maj. Conner’s surprise is a hit.


“Obviously mothers are special to everybody. So, it’s great to see mom, and it’s nice. I knew she would start crying, because she does that regardless.”


And who can blame her for shedding a few proud tears? Her son’s service to his country and dedication to his fellow servicemen is remarkable.


“It’s been a tough year in Afghanistan in 2010,” Maj. Conner said. “We’ve got another tough year in Afghanistan in 2011. So the charity is well needed, and they do amazing things.”


He says his reception along the cross-country journey has been incredible.


“I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than the American flag flying in the wind,” he said. “The truckers have been great to me. They’ve been giving me thumbs up and honking. Trains go by and they honk. It’s just been a great experience.”

The Marine’s older brother also beams with satisfaction.


“It just gives you so much pride and everything when you see how he’s turning out,” Bob Conner said. “And the things he’s wanting to do to help others out, putting others above himself. It’s a great feeling.”


It’s the Mother’s Day surprise of a lifetime for a mother overwhelmed with pride for her true American hero son.

“Everyday I thank God for my two wonderful sons, and then they just do these unbelievable things. They’re always trying to help somebody else.”


Maj. Conner has made five tours of duty in Iraq, and just returned from a year-long tour of duty in Afghanistan. He is actually using his vacation time to get on his bike and make the 33-hundred-mile ride across the country to help raise money for the Semper Fi Fund. He has completed roughly 15-hundred miles of the journey, averaging about 115 miles of riding each day.

The Semper Fi Fund is a non-profit organization set up to provide immediate financial support for injured and critically ill members of the U.S. Armed Forces.


Click here for more information on the Semper Fi Fund and Maj. Conner’s Ride Across America.

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