HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 1000 riders were revved up Saturday morning, ready to support the annual Holyoke Soldiers’ Home motorcycle run.
The event is organized each year by the organization Victory for Veterans, which donates the proceeds to the Soldiers’ Home for it’s programs and services.
Paul Demers’ father spent seven years at the Soldiers Home before he passed away. Today Paul rides to help support the Soldiers’ home programs. It will be the first ride without his Father there.
Demers said “He was here for the first five, yeah right out front, right over here. Yeah he was here and all my guys came buy and shook his hand and gave him a huge, it was nice. It’s always nice. It’s phenomenal. It just shows the support of our community for our veterans. It’s a great feeling. It’s a great day”.
For the Soldiers’ Home and it’s veterans, the thousands of dollars raised by riders every year has made a real impact. Bennett Walsh, the Soldiers’ Home Superintendent, said “We took the last two years donations and we were able to improve our electrical beds at the facility. So we’re actually asking around what would be the next big thing that we’d need. I’ve actually been asking the veterans and the staff, what would they like to see to improve their level of care”.
In a sea of motorcycles, riders traveled more than 30 miles through five different towns to support the soldiers’ home. The riders, many of them veterans themselves, said it was a small gesture compared to all that the soldiers’ home’s veterans had given.
Edward Boutin said :”I almost get teary up, I get teary up now, when I shake their hands, because I know I do stand on the shoulders of giants, for these beautiful beautiful people that gave so much”.
The thousands of riders, family members and friends met up at the end of the route for a party at the Big E fair grounds in West Springfield.