The morning of the HHR dawned cool and overcast. It had poured cats and dogs all day Friday and all night preventing a ton of people who had booked hotel rooms from making the journey to Trenton. In the Holiday in alone where 55 rooms had been booked, 44 were cancelled. Mother Nature can be cruel and evil when she chooses to be!
My room mate for the two days in Trenton was Joyce Kaufman, she is an amazing woman with an amazing story of survival. One day soon, I will tell her story as it is one that every rider needs to hear!
Joyce and I spent all day Friday editing videos, photos and writing - I also had to get everything ready for last week’s paper so that Darryl could lay it out for me. He’s still pitching in as his schedule allows to help us get the paper out on time!
The riders from the M25 Group were staying at the base and had a BBQ and demo rides they were attending at one of the dealerships and then another BBQ at the Royal Canadian Legion. I just had too much work to do to get out to these events but was told by the riders that they sure enjoyed the hospitality.
Friday morning at 7:30 am, I was ready to go do my “first parade” as Trapper refers to the checking of the oil, air pressures and giving the bike the once over. In the military “first parade” is all about checking over your equipment. When I heard Trapper use that phrase, I remembered my dad who used to use that phrase when I was a kid...
I got to the gorgeous bike that Classy Chassis had been letting me ride and low and behold, Bob Deadman of the Balding Eagles had wiped the dirty girl down, checked her over for me so all I had to do was go to Timmy’s to get a breakfast sandwich and then make my way to the base.
When I got to CFB Trenton I was stunned at the impressive display we riders were treated to. Every division of 8 Wing Trenton was out in full force with displays and booths that were selling patches, pins, coins and shirts.
I went to every booth and spread a little cash to each division and thanked each and every person in service for their service
What struck me was how humble these people are. They kept thanking us, the visitors to their workplace for supporting them - it was a mutual love fest!
There were kids helping out their parents in the booths - it was such a nice touch, it made one feel like you really got a glimpse into these people’s lives!
There were tanks and all kinds of artillery to oogle and the soldiers were running the parking areas with true military precision. Mother Nature rained In spite of the rain, there were tons of bikes out and many displaying their pride!
on us off an on and when the ceremonies got under way, it was like she was crying for the fallen. We heard from MP Peter Goldring who presented the base commander, Colonel Friday with a flag from Parliament Hill for the base. We had many dignitaries speak and 418 Wing Pipe & Drum band & the Trenton Citizens Band entertained us all.
The volunteers for the HHR worked their little hiney’s off getting people to register for the ride, selling HHR & Biker’s United in Remembrance Patches and they did so with great big grins on their faces!
Pastor Dave Neals from Kawarthas Bikers Church gave a blessing and what a blessing it was, he was only half way through the prayer when all of a sudden the rain quit and for the rest of the day we stayed dry. It never rained again until 6:30 pm in Toronto and that was a sun shower!
Heidi Hayward, below, sang “Oh Canada” for us the same as she did for the Repatriation Memorial Commemoration Ceremony. The gal can sing and does a wonderful job of our anthem!
I caught up with the guys and gals from the M25, hugs were shared all around, I also got to see a ton of people that I only get to see once in a great while.
Above: the M25 Mission of Hope Riders
I have to say how blessed I am to be a part of such a large extended family!
Up until April, Lou had been a member of the Perfect Pigs MC, a member club of the OCC (Otarion Confederation of Clubs). He thanked his old club for their support over the previous three HHR’s during his speech.
Darlene Cushman and Lou DeVuono
He then went on to introduce the Grand Marshall and what great lady she is...Silver Cross Mother, Darlene Cushman.
Her son, Trooper Darryl Caswell died in Afghanistan, June 11, 2007. He was taken from his family and his country by an IED. He is also the same soldier whose memorial was desecrated on May 2 2009 when vandals burnt the Canadian flag that adorned the memorial at her home. Barrie Harley-Davidson and about 100 riders made the trip out to Darlene’s to replace the flag. You see, Darryl was a rider. And a naughty one. He had gotten a few too many speeding tickets and was told if he wanted to stay in the military he had best cut it out. So he parked the bike for a while and he and his mom were planning a motorcycle ride when he went over seas. (now I am going straight from memory here so forgive me if I messed up any part of this sad yet wonderful story.)
Darlene had a hard time speaking in Trenton, she was so overwhelmed. The HHR ride changed that for her as she delivered the most amazing “speech” in Toronto a few hours later, but I am getting ahead of myself! Darlene rode in Trapper’s sidecar and carried with her a picture of Darryl and is gnome, Recce Gnomer. Lead by the Opp, a number of dignitary bearing vehicles, some three thousand motorcycles made their way down the entire length of the Heroes Highway, the same route our soldiers took, that more may yet take.
I could literally write a book about all of the cool little side stories, and if I had more knowledge and time I could have made this far splashier an article - graphics wise etc.
I hope the pictures and the words help paint a story - one that next year you will want to be a part of.
There are no words that can truly express the pride I feel in these people - the members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I can’t express enough gratitude to CFB Trenton for the fabulous displays, the hospitality and the work YOU put in to having us say THANK YOU to you - WOW.
So folks, as you read this, There is only one thing I want you to think about right now. Our Troops - whether you agree where our government sends them or not, they do a job that only very special people can do.They do it willingly, knowing the sacrifices they will make.
My cousin Cedric Hamel is home after 4 tours in the Ghan.
My aunt and uncle are fortunate, 155 familes have not been. Don’t love our government if that is your choice, but the men and women who fight to preserve our freedoms and help other countries who have great need, to help the down trodden everywhere...LOVE THESE PEOPLE - one day we citizens, their true bosses may have need of defence right here at home (I pray not in my time, but the way this world is going, you just never know)!
There are some special people I want to thank... Graeme and Ann Hume - you two rock! Thank you for everything you did on that base and the hospitality and kindness you showed everyone. Graeme, thank you for all the work you do with Lou to host this event, as Lou has expressed countless times, he couldn’t do it with out you!
Lou and Anne DeVuono - thank you for everything - there are no words...
Howard Galganov - you are a prince, Joyce Kaufman - YOU ARE A GREAT ROOMIE! You are also an inspiration!
Bishop Gary Burd and the M25 riders - I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
To the JMA and Jewish Defence League riders I was priviledged to get to know - I am looking forward to riding with you again!
Silver Cross Mother, Darlene Cushman Grande Marshall
MP Peter Goldring, thank you for being so involved!
I hope you will all do me a favour and vist the HHR and maybe become a member on their Facebook page! Click Here
Next week I will bring you the ride itself and the ceremonies at the Sound Academy.... It will bring tears to your eyes, I know there wasn’t a dry eye in Toronto!
Until next week...