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Veterans, first responders ride to commemorate Vietnam War

Weatherford Democrat - 5/9/2018

May 08--Bob Folmar, Patriots United for Heroes president and U.S. Army veteran, never expected the Third Annual Vietnam Commemorative Ride to draw so many first responders and veterans over the years, he said Saturday.

Taking place at Weatherford'sVeterans of Foreign Wars Post 4746, motorcycles, mustangs and cop cars were gathered at the post to ride to the Mineral Wells veteran memorial for a wreath laying ceremony and to raise money for veteran awareness.

Having done the event for a third time, Folmar wasn't sure whether he would get participation when he first started the ride, he said.

"I didn't think it would be this big," Folmar said. "I got the good Lord to thank for that and I got my wife to thank for that also, she just posts [flyers] everywhere."

"You come out for the purpose, come out for the camaraderie, the brotherhood and they come out for a beautiful day of riding," Folmar said of the participants.

Bridging the cultural gap between civilians and military personnel is critical, Folmar said.

"I think the main thing is probably awareness," he said. "Awareness helps to get the word out that people don't know what veterans are going through, some veterans are coming back from combat, they see more combat than the average person sees in their lifetime."

A rider who identified himself as X-Ray from HonorBound Motorcycle Ministries said the event allows religious organizations like his to give help to veterans, he said.

"I'm studying to be a chaplain," he said. "Basically, the need is to build relationships and to reinforce, not to forget, just because this is a different culture, that they still have the same needs."

Veterans need spiritual and physical healing, X-Ray said.

"Even more so in that culture, that need to have the word of God given to them, they need that relationship, they need to be loved on and that's what this [event] has allowed us to do is to love on these people," he said.

The organization ministers to biker culture, veterans and those who want to change their criminal lifestyle, X-Ray said.

"The Lord has allowed us to step into some really dark places for his glory and that's what we've done," he said.

Understanding is a big part of helping veterans get the help they need, said James Leach, VFW Post 10374 member.

Going to war in any country is rough business, Leach said.

"Veterans, you don't know what the veterans go through when they're over there, you don't know what they see, what they have to do just to stay alive a lot of the times," he said. "Some of it's nasty and then while they're in the process of that no matter how nasty it is you make a lot of friends out of it."

Those friendships last a lifetime, Leach said.

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(c)2018 Weatherford Democrat (Weatherford, Texas)

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