By Judy Reed
Hot temperatures, thirst, and little downtime took its toll on the bikers involved in the Giving Back Memorial Run last Saturday, July 14, but organizers Doug Pickel and Kirt Lampman aka Bubbaglide were still pleased with the results.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster. There were tears at every stop,” noted Pickel. “It did a lot of good toward helping people remember our heroes. I know it did Kirt’s and my heart good.”
While they had projected 800 or more, 129 bikers took off from the Grand Rapids Home for the Veterans Saturday and honored Purple Heart veterans and gold star families in Sparta, Newaygo, Croton, Morley, Howard City, and Cedar Springs. By the time they reached Cedar Springs, only about 25 bikers remained. “We lost a lot of them after Howard City,” explained Pickel.
VanLampen said it was the hot weather that did it. “Plus with it being a first time event, you don’t get as many as you’d hope,” he said. “But I heard a lot of good things about it.”
The bikers rolled into Cedar Springs about 6:30 p.m. The American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 Honor guard was on hand to help honor our own fallen soldier, Timothy Brown, and his parents, Tim and Cindy Brown, with a special Purple Heart plaque made by Pickel.
“I was disappointed there weren’t more bikers at Cedar Springs, but the Brown family knows their community loves them,” said Pickel. “Mr. Brown said the plaque means the world to them.”
The events and plaques were sponsored by businesses and individuals in each community. Pickel said that they learned some things from the run, and plan to do another one in May, but this time with only three stops, more down time, and with hopefully more donations of water for the bikers. He said the run would be a “Fallen Heroes run” honoring policemen, firefighters, and veterans.