About 2,000 people riding 1,700 motorcycles came together Sunday for the 22nd Annual Operation God Bless America Motorcycle Ride, and rolled into Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Virginia with a donation of $32,000.
Motorcycle enthusiasts from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia lined up for miles near the TA Travel Center in Greencastle and departed at noon for the medical center in Martinsburg Sunday. They brought with them about $32,000 for the center that has served America's veterans by providing health care that improves their health and well-being since 1944.
"We fixed our bowling alley, we buy weight equipment, TV's, all the things that we can't buy with the federal funds at the hospital; this type of activity really enhances what we can do for our veterans," fox43.com quoted Ann Brown, Director of the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, as saying.
"Being that I spent 33 years in the military, it almost makes me cry having to have to go in there to push them out with no arms and no legs. It's really something to see," Elton Ensor, a World War II Veteran, was quoted as saying. "They need all the help they can get."
Since the ride began 22 years ago, the group has raised over $450,000 for the medical center, according to Mary Ann Davenport, the group's treasurer.
It's not just about money. The motorcycle enthusiasts with Operation God Bless America say they want veterans to know that their sacrifice and the sacrifices of their families are recognized and appreciated on a continuing basis.
"The continual roll of sound that comes in is amazing," Herald Mail quoted Lynn David Hubsch, a resident of the medical center, as saying. "It's thrilling... The feeling is overwhelming," said his wife Karen. "We couldn't even imagine how many there were. It's the magnitude of the people ... to support the veterans and let them know they're not forgotten." Hubsch served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.