If you’ve attended a military funeral within the last 5-6 years, you’ve probably witnessed an inspiring sight with the Patriot Guard Riders. We experienced this the week of Mark’s funeral. They were present at his Dignified Arrival, viewing, and funeral.
Pictured are Dave (aka ‘Tanker’) and Cheryl Haines of Oneonta, AL. Dave is the Assistant State Captain for North Alabama, and Cheryl is the State Secretary/member of National Info Team/Sr. Ride Captain.
They told us the purpose of the Patriot Guard Riders is to protect the families of the fallen from any protests, and to properly honor our fallen service men and women. They are not violent, but will do anything necessary to block the families from some crazies who may want to mock or disturb a military funeral. They are very effective at what they do. If you haven’t done so, look them up and you will see incredible videos from all over the country. One of their motto’s is: “Standing for those who stood for us“.
The Patriot Guard Riders are very respectful and will only attend a funeral at the request of the family of the fallen. They do not take pictures or videos. They show up quickly, do their job, and leave quickly and don’t want any recognition. Some of them were in Haleyville three days before Mark’s funeral so they could be prepared for all events. The members who work other jobs use vacation days or sick days so they can voluntarily attend a funeral. In total there were over 200 bikes in town for Mark’s funeral. They came from all over Alabama and the surrounding states.
Meeting with Dave and Cheryl was a great experience. Dave is a Desert Storm veteran. He loves this country and told me he hopes there comes a day when the PGR isn’t necessary b/c there won’t be funeral protests. Until then, they are here and will keep riding.
I remember the comfort we had knowing they were coming and then when we saw them, first at the airport, then at the viewing, then the funeral. They were incredibly respectful. They presented us with a plaque that now sits on Mark’s night stand by his bed.
Even though we didn’t see any protesters, I asked the Haines’ if they were there and they told me that’s how they know they did their job, because we didn’t know. Even if evil protesters had been there, we’d have never known.
Thank you for what you do for our country, and for military and first responder families.