Rally & BBQ this Saturday – Run to the VA

Jun 11, 14 Rally & BBQ this Saturday – Run to the VA

So weather wise it’s a crappy week, so by Saturday some of you will be really itching to get out of the house and ride!

So c’mon out with us on Saturday, were gonna start at the VAC in Ronkonkoma with bagels and coffee at 9:30 AM, then at 10:00 AM: say the Pledge, say a Blessing, a few words about Agent Orange. Then were going to escort my good friend Bobbie Jo out to Calverton National Cemetery so we can visit and pay respects to her Brother and Vietnam War Hero: SSGT John Andrew Thorburn who had to cope with exposure to Agent Orange and losing 2 of his children because of the after effects.

625692_139990582841823_245024101_nFrom there were going to head west to the Northport VA Hospital, hang out with some of our older Veterans who now live the rest of their lives at the nursing home: Building 92. Were gonna BBQ in the picnic area while The Natural Red Band plays.

We’re doing this event for no charge for participants that join us for the day, (thanks to our Event Sponsors) but any donations that morning will be put to helping local Veterans. We will be handing out tee shirts and flags to the Veterans, eat some burgers and have a little Birthday ice cream for whoever’s birthday is in June.

It’s a good time; its Flag Day, it’s the birthday of the Army, its Father’s Day weekend, and the weather will be great. Why not spend it with us as Patriotic as we All can be that day. For more information check the event on our webpage or at  www.bootsonthegroundny.com/ai1ec_event/5th-annual-run-to-the-va-agent-orange-awarness-rally-bbq


Everyone & All motorcycles and vehicle are invited to join us. See you at 0930 on Saturday (June 14th) morning at the VAC: 2184 Pond Road, Ronkonkoma.


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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