Motorcycle ride benefits injured Marines

By Jennifer Kabbany | North County Times | NCTimes.com | May 21, 2011

 

Marines take care of Marines.

 

That was the mantra espoused by several of the hundreds of Marines who took part Saturday in the annual Wounded Warriors Motorcycle Rally, a fundraiser that benefits the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

 

“That is why we are out here, doing what we do,” said Las Vegas resident Tom “Ghost” Martin, 43, who served in the Marines from 1986 to 1991. “As long as there is a troop out there suffering, we’re going to help them, support them.”

Doug “Six Pack” Case, 43, a Murrieta resident who served in the Marines for 11 years, is now president of the Southwest County-based Brotherhood of the U.S. Marine Corps Riders, which organizes the annual fundraiser, now in its seventh year.

The first year the ride attracted about 70 riders, Case said. This year, more than 500 people took part, he said.

 

“This feels awesome; it’s just blown up,” Case said as he stood in the center of a swarm of Marines and their families and friends at the Wild West Arena in Winchester, where riders concluded their trip after traversing 74 miles through North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties.

Brotherhood of Marine Riders 2011 Poker Ride. Photos by North County Times.

 

At the ranch, participants were treated to live music, a barbeque lunch, and a variety of raffle prizes —- including a new motorcycle.

 

Tens of thousands of dollars have been donated to the Semper Fi Fund over the years through the rally, Case said, adding this year an estimated $14,000 will go to the fund, which provides financial support to injured and critically ill members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.

 

Case emphasized that after paying for the event’s expenses, “every dime” is given to the fund.

 

Several participants —- not all of whom served in the armed forces —- said Saturday that support for the fund is badly needed.

“I just like to support the troops,” said El Cajon resident John Amador, 53, whose buddy is a former Marine. “They’re not taken care of —- not like they should be. Especially the veterans. You see them homeless in the streets, what’s that about? We should take care of these people.”

 

After seven deployments —- three of which were in combat zones —- Camp Pendleton Staff Sgt. Paul Mousseau, 39, said the rally helps a “great cause.”

 

“I lost three Marines and one Navy corpsman, and I know a lot that got injured,” he said of a 2007 deployment. “Ever since then I’ve wanted to train harder and make sure my Marines are ready for combat.”

 

The rally Saturday was necessary because care for injured Marines isn’t what it should be, he said.

 

“This helps them have a better quality of life,” Mousseau said.

 

The event was a good venue to that end, he said.

 

“It’s a way for Americans to jump in there and show their support for the military,” Mousseau said.

Download PDF copy of article.