5th Annual Run to the VA & Annual Father’s Day Weekend BBQ Saturday June 14th – 2014

Please join us for the morning of June 14th as we host our 5th annual Agent Orange Awareness Rally in Memory of SSgt John A. Thorburn. SSgt Thorburn, a Vietnam Veteran & Hero was exposed to Agent Orange which resulted in taking the lives of two of his children.

We also host our annual BBQ with the residents of Bldg. 92 (Nursing Home) @ the Northport VA also on this day with live music grilled burgers and refreshments. This event is open to all of our guests for the day and this year free of charge but we are accepting donations to help cover costs of the food, drinks and event t-shirts. (Event shirts are given free to the 100 residents of the nursing home each year).

Rally begins at 1000 hrs. at “the VAC” (Boots on the Ground NY-Veteran Activity Center)

2184 Pond Road, Ronkonkoma NY 11779   631-615-2200

Includes Pledge, National Anthem, and Guest Speakers in regards to Agent Orange Awareness.

We then take a nice ride/drive to Calverton National Cemetery where respects are paid to SSgt Thorburn. After a brief stop at CNC we then travel to the Northport VA, greet the residents, fire up the grills and enjoy live music, some chow and the company of Our Nations Heroes.

Motorcycle, Cars, Jeeps, Military Vehicles – All Welcome!625692_139990582841823_245024101_n

A Great Memorable Event Every Year

Event Sponsors are needed to cover costs of T-shirts and Food.

Sponsors logo are presented on the back of the event shirt and mentioned on our website.

Anyone looking to become an event sponsor can do so on our website or contact Frank Bania at FrankB@BootsontheGroundNY.com or 631-615-2200

We are also collecting items for the residents of bldg. 92 in the form of new t-shirts, socks, underwear.


Boots on the Ground NY

“Leaving No Veteran Behind”



On March 14th, 1970, during a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol mission in the Duc Lap area of the Quang Duc Province of South Viet Nam, a UH-1P helicopter carrying Capt. Dana A. Dilley, Capt. Marvin R. Loper, SSgt John A. Thorburn, and A1c David A. Carpenter was shot down by enemy ground fire. Staff Sergeant Thorburn, along with fellow gunner A1C Carpenter, suffered serious injuries. Captain Dilley lost his life in the crash, and Captain Loper sustained broken bones in one of his feet. An Army helicopter on the same operation was able to rescue the surviving crew and bring them to Cam Ranh Bay, where they received treatment for their injuries. Upon receiving treatment, they were brought back to the U.S. Despite being badly injured, Thorburn ultimately survived the incident.

By the end of his service, SSgt Thorburn had served in both the Army and Air Force.  He had been assigned to the 101st Airborne and the Green Berets.  He was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, along with several other citations and commendations.  Most importantly, he had survived the war.

Upon his return home, however, a new battle awaited.  SSgt Thorburn learned that he had been exposed to Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide used by the United States during the Viet Nam War.  Agent Orange exposure is known to cause several diseases in those exposed, including Parkinson’s, diabetes, several forms of cancer, neurological problems, and more (click here to visit the VA’s public health site for Agent Orange exposure).  Perhaps more sinister is the fact that Agent Orange exposure leaves behind a terrible heritage that is passed on to the children of those exposed, causing several forms of birth defects.  In addition to his own concerns, two of SSgt Thorburn’s children were affected by his exposure.  His son, Maxx, and daughter, Dee-ann, were both born severely mentally and physically handicapped.  Maxx died at age 10.  Dee-ann lived until 2007, when she passed at the young age of 27.  On January 7th, 2010, SSgt John Thorburn departed this world.

In Honor of SSGT John Thorburn, and in order to help raise awareness about Agent Orange, its effects, and the need for those affected to get tested, BOTG-NY is hosting the 5th Annual “Run to the VA” on Saturday June 14th, 2014.  Ride staging begins at Boots on the Ground NY – Veteran Activity Center located at 2184 Pond Road, Ronkonkoma.  This 75 mile ride run, beginning promptly at 10:00 AM, ends at the Northport VA Hospital, where BOTG-NY will provide a BBQ for those who attended the run as well as for the residents of the VA hospital.  Any donations raised from this ride will benefit hospitalized Veterans of the Northport VA.  BOTG-NY purchases supplies and lunch for patients throughout the year during our monthly visits.  We will also be collecting items at staging for hospitalized patients such as socks, underwear, t-shirts, pay-phone cards & toiletries which will be brought to the wards after the BBQ


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