By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Killeen Daily Herald
Bikers can help honor the memory of fallen soldiers during a memorial ride on Saturday that begins at 8 a.m. at the 1st Cavalry Division's parade field and ends at Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.
The event is sponsored by DeAnna Shields and Charlotte Spencer, the widows of two 1st Cavalry soldiers who died in Iraq – Sgt. Jonathan B. Shields and Pvt. Clarence T. Spencer.
Shields, who was 25, died Nov. 12, 2004. He was a soldier in the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team. Spencer, who was 24, died Feb. 4, 2007. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade.
Those interested in participating in the ride are asked to buy tickets and that money will benefit Helping Unite Gold Star Survivors, an organization created by Fort Hood's Gold Star Family Support Center.
The Gold Star Family Support Center provides "care services to all families who have suffered the loss of a soldier, Marine, airman, sailor or guardsman with a primary focus on the Gold Star families," according to information from the organization's Web site. "This includes facilitating support groups, coordinating events, as well as linking families to community resources and services."
For more information on the center and its nonprofit organization, Helping Unite Gold Star Survivors, visit www.goldstarfamilysupport.org.
The $10 tickets buy riders spaces in the formation and meals once they reach BLORA.
Shields got the idea for the ride after attending a memorial service for a soldier who was killed while riding his motorcycle.
"I sat down and put together some thoughts for a way we could honor all of our fallen soldiers, including those who were bikers," she said.
Saturday's ride is also a way for riders to bring safety awareness to the community.
Shields belongs to the car club division of a local riding chapter, Ruff Ryders, and teamed up with Spencer, whom she met at the Gold Star Family Support Center earlier this year. Spencer is a rider in Anu Era, a local bike club.
"The ride is intended to not only honor our husbands but also other fallen soldiers, including those who were motorcycle riders," Shields said.
They hope that riders will follow the route, which will go from the 1st Cavalry parade field to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, and then back through Killeen to BLORA, and "with each mile and beyond marking the memory of all of our fallen soldiers," Shields said.
Bikers will ride for fallen soldiers' families, and participants will wear T-shirts, purchased by Gold Star family members across the country, that have pictures of their soldier on the front.
Anyone is welcome to participate, Shields said. Organizers are still adding bikers and their passengers and will accept reservations until Friday.
Tickets can be purchased at Fort Hood's Information, Ticketing and Registration, 761st Tank Battalion Shopping Center, Building 136, (254) 287-7310; or by calling (254) 813-3250 or (254) 768-6090.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547.
About the ride
When: Start time is 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: 1st Cavalry Division parade field, Battalion Avenue and 67th Street. The route continues to the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, through Killeen and then to the Belton Lake Outdoor Recreation Area.
Cost: $10 per ticket, includes barbecue meal. Tickets can be purchased at Fort Hood's Information, Ticketing and Registration, 761st Tank Battalion Shopping Center, Building 136, (254) 287-7310; or by calling (254) 813-3250 or (254) 768-6090.