We just got back from Missouri for a fund raising for anysoldier.com What a weekend!!! Not enough time or space to write about everything, but it was great!
We got to meet Marty Horn and his wonderful wife Sue and beautiful daughter Sasha for the first time, we have talked with Marty several times but this was the first in meeting him. Talk about a family devoting their time to this country! They are tireless and selfless in making sure that our troops are taken care of, and taken care of good! They have put their whole lives into http://www.anysoldier.com/ to make sure that ALL of our troops know they are appreciated and not forgotten, no matter what the crap news reports.
Friday, we got to meet Lt. Col. Mitch 'Taco' Bell. VERY COOL! Tanner doesn't impress easily and he was completely smitten with Taco! Taylor couldn't wait for Saturday when she would get to see her beloved Major Pain again! It was SUPPOSED to be that she got up bright and early and there would be a police escort and a hummer waiting to take her to the airport to surprise Major Pain, then whisk those two back to the opening ceremony. As fate would have it, Major Pain's flight was delayed and he had to spend some lovely time sitting in the terminal with the cleaning lady with a huge mole, telling her whole life story to him. (is this karma? ROFL!) So, Taylor was told that the escort was off and she was crushed.
But, she was still going to the airport to pick him up, it was just messing the whole thing up........but we got it to work. We showed up to the staging point around 10 a.m. and were amazed by the amount of bikes that showed up. The bikes were pulling out at 11 for a 2 hour ride, and Major Pain's plane wasn't landing until 1 p.m. just outside of the staging point (see why things got messed up?)
Our plan was to have Taylor's picture taken with ALL of the Patriot Guard Riders that showed up at the ending point so we didn't do anything like that and we later regretted it.
The National Anthem was sung just beautifully and so heartfelt by a Navy guy, and when I say he put his heart and soul into it, I mean he really did! Beautiful! There was a bagpipe player who played Amazing Grace and then he played the Marine Corps Hymn, time for Taco and Taylor to talk. Taylor was able to present to a Wounded Warrior a certificate of appreciation, Taco got one, Taylor got one and Marty and Sue got one. Taco talked a bit about Taylor and then Taylor got up and talked about what it meant to be an American, asked everyone to support their troops because we know our troops support us! She then presented Marty a check for anysoldier.com from the donations she was able to get for them.
We then took off to get to the airport to pick up Major Pain and we got special passes to get right back into the terminal. Taylor still had to go through the metal detectors and I could see a bit of the fear coming back to her from our very unfortunate last time going through one. We made it through OK and to try to make Taylor smile, I just belted out 'Yeah, you are not Taylor the Terrorist today!' As soon as I said it, Taco gave me a very stern look and very authoritatively told me to NOT say that again! (he is a commercial airline pilot) I had never given it a thought, good Lord help us had I gotten Taylor in trouble with the TSA yet again!!!!!
We walked a bit to get down to where Major Pain was and wouldn't you know it, as we rounded the corner, he almost ran smack right into us! He grabbed ahold of Taylor and flipped her in the air like she was a sack of potatoes. Look at her little face, I think it says it all!
He changed into his HOG gear likety split and we were off for the guys to get on their bikes and ride like the wind to try to make up the lost time. The weather God's however had a different idea. They no sooner got going at a good pace when the skies opened and it rained, not just a nice steady rain, but a torrential downpour. We stopped at an overpass for their safety and all laughed about it. The rain stopped and one bike took off, the sky opened again. He had to come down a side road to get back to the other side of the underpass. The rain stopped and off took another bike, the same thing......here came the rain. It went like this until half the bikes were on the OTHER side of the road headed in the OTHER direction. The kids got a big kick out of it.
We finally got going only to be hit by another blast of rain but they toughed it out and kept going. Pretty soon the sun shined a bit and they were getting dry, except for their boots. We pulled into a gas station and one guy took off his boots and when he turned it over, it was like pouring out 2 cups of water, Taylor laughed a good one because of that.
They were able to see that a huge wall of not good weather was coming from where they needed to go, so they decided it best to go away from it and around it. What should have been about a 2 hour ride ended up being more like over 5 hours! We however got to go through some beautiful rolling mountains (Ozarks) and even saw a castle. Some of these homes didn't just have land, but it was like estates. It was breathtaking country to see. Then we came upon some areas where you could swear you heard the dueling banjos from the movie Deliverance!
By the time we got to the ending point, most of the bikes were gone. But from what we understand, they had a great time. Taylor was able to give to Major Pain his certificate of appreciation and then we were able to witness Marty and Sue present a family of a fallen soldier a check from anysoldier and treatanysoldier. Very emotional to watch. But it made us so proud to know these people and to know that they care so deeply.
With everyone being gone, we didn't get a picture with Taylor and all her Missouri PGR family, but there were a few there and some American Legion Riders we got to snap a few with! While we searched in vain for some chocolate cigars for Taylor to be able to share with her brother and hero Marines, Taco and Major Pain....we couldn't find any! How priceless would that have been?! But we were able to get a few pics with her pretending to have the real thing!!!!!
The lady in charge, Della, did an outstanding job. She worked very hard to ensure this was a great day and it was. Our troops are very lucky to have such a strong supporter as herself.
We were able to meet many new people. One man, once he saw Taylor talk came up and asked if we knew a man named Kai (from Patriot Guard). We were shocked and said yes. Come to find out, this man was from a group of riders that know of Kai and Michigan's own JimmyK and he had remembered them posting about Taylor. Shows what a small world it is! It was great meeting you Harry!
We came away not feeling like we had met people for the first time, but felt like we were with long lost family. Being around so many wonderful people, we just know that Taylor is going to be even more determined to push on with her mission.
Della, great job!! Taco, thank you for taking the time, especially with Tanner and thank you for your service to our country. Major Pain, you know how we feel about you! THANK YOU. Marty and Sue, we are so honored to be able to help you, you in turn have helped us more then you will ever know. THANK YOU!