The Patriot Guard Riders (“Alone We Can Do So Little, Together We Can Do So Much”) is a nonprofit organization of volunteers who aim to honor the fallen heroes of military service, first responders and honorably discharged veterans. They are far more than a support service, however; they are the invited guests and welcomed friends of mourning families.
The organization consists of riders from all across the nation. They extend a welcoming hand to people of all backgrounds and lifestyles. It does not matter one’s political associations, bike model, or income; and members are not even expected to ride. The only qualification is a deep respect for the public servants that have given their lives to better their communities and serve their country.
The mission of the Patriot Guard Riders is expressed in two ways. First, in showing support and honor to the country's fallen heroes by actively attending funerals. Second, by shielding grieving loved ones from disruptive protesters through nonviolent means.
The Patriot Guard Riders began in 2005 when the wife of American Legion Rider Terry Houck discovered that a group of protestors disrupted the funeral of a solider in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The couple quickly made plans to ride to the funeral in order to show the respect they believed this fallen hero deserved. Houck spoke of this plan with other riders of the Kansas American Legion, who agreed to ride down as well in order to protect and support the family who was being harassed by the protests from the Fred Phelps Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).
About a month later on August 7, 2005, official members were appointed and a mission statement, brochure and applicable guidelines were drawn up. Shortly thereafter, the WBC rose up again to disrupt the funeral of a sergeant in Chelsea, Oklahoma. It was at this point that a mission statement was established.
The statement included getting the families' permission, contacting other law enforcement, and communicating with motorcycle groups and veterans in other states. The ultimate goal was to have a group in each state that could respond accordingly to such disruptions without relying on another state to do the job.
The Chelsea undertaking was successful, and the Kansas American Legion Riders wanted all the other motorcycle groups and supporters to be recognized as well. Thus, the Patriot Guard was officially born, with a distinguishable patch and dozens of dedicated riders positioned all over the country.
The Patriot Guard Riders stand by their commitment and strong sense of gratitude and respect. To those serving and fighting for freedom, know that The Patriot Guard Riders appreciate your sacrifice; that they are united with you in patriotism and mutual love for honor and service; and that they are praying for a safe and healthy return home to your family, friends, and loving communities.
Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Patriot_Guard_Riders_flag_lineup.jpg