OWINGSVILLE, Ky. (FOX 56) — Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, so it’s easy to overlook the real meaning of the holiday. But, a group of about 50 Kentuckians, known as Task Force Omega (T.F.O.), are reminding communities how Memorial Day honors the soldiers who fought for our country’s freedom.
“Memorial Day is more than a three-day weekend for people to do whatever,” said Jason York, T.F.O. Treasurer. “What I ask is for everyone to spend a few moments to think and pray about some of our fallen. The people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
T.F.O. members are riding their motorcycles from Owingsville, Kentucky to Rainelle, West Virginia. For nearly 35 years, the group has made this trip, which they plan for all year long. It’s named, “Ride for Freedom.” The non-profit raises thousands of dollars each year, and every dime goes to helping veterans and their families.
When T.F.O. hit the road to Rainelle, several Gold Star moms joined. The group will also pick more motorcyclists up along the way. By 1:30 p.m. Thursday they will be in West Virginia, reminding people freedom is not free.
“I can go where I want, do what I want, work the job that I choose to work because of the American soldiers and the veterans over the years fighting for our freedoms,” said Dave Petitt, T.F.O. Board Member.
One of their first stops in West Virginia is to a nursing home to visit veterans. Petitt said most do not get many visitors.
On Friday, T.F.O. has several patriotic presentations lined up for students at Rainelle Elementary School. They want kids to know Memorial Day is a celebration, but also a day to honor the heroes who fought for our freedom. Some presentations include what a folded flag means, and what’s on the dollar bill.
“They’ll come to you and say ‘you’re my hero.’ And some of our people say ‘I’m not a veteran,'” said Danny “Greasy” Belcher, T.F.O. Executive Director and Founder. “But, it doesn’t matter. We get teary-eyed because we care. And that’s why we do it.”
Once the group returns to Kentucky, they will travel to Wilmore to visit the Thomas-Hood Veterans Center. Twice a year they donate food, clothing, and other gifts to our local veterans.