The annual Ride for the Wreaths motorcycle run has a deeper meaning for Army veterans and United Methodist Motorcycle Enthusiasts Keri and Steve McCoy.
“We will both be interred here,” said Steve McCoy, a retired chief warrant officer and a Kempner resident. “The cemetery gives me a sense of peace, and I know I will be laid to rest among people who understood me.”
Friends of the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery held its annual Ride for the Wreaths on Saturday to raise money for the holiday tradition of laying wreaths on the more than 4,500 graves at the cemetery the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“Without this event, laying the wreaths would not be possible,” said Sonja Skinner, fundraiser chairwoman and a 20-year veteran of the Navy. “I got involved with this a few years ago because it’s such a noble event. Our veterans deserve the highest honor because they gave of themselves to serve our country.”
Saturday’s charity motorcycle ride took off from Horny Toad Harley-Davidson in Temple and the more than 87 bikes took a lap around the cemetery, in almost a perfect formation, before gathering to listen to retired Command Sgt. Maj. Don Felt, who served as Fort Hood’s command sergeant major from 2008 to 2010.
“I participated in the ride last year and I was honored to be asked to speak at the event this year,” Felt said. “This a great event to ensure that our veterans don’t get forgotten, especially during the holidays.”
Riders returned to the dealership in Temple for a barbecue lunch, music and giveaways.
“I know someone who is buried here without a family, so this wreath will probably be the only thing placed on his grave,” said Felecia Hale, a Belton resident and a member of the United Methodist Motorcycle Enthusiasts, which is based in Temple.
“That’s why I am here, because this is a great way to pay homage to our veterans.”
To sponsor a wreath or to make a donation, go to www.wreathsforvets.org.