News: Long Beach rallies for wounded vets
Story by Cpl. Lisa Tourtelot
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - “People have given – sacrificed – their lives to give us freedoms,” said Matthew Brittan, a Patriot Guard rider and participant at the Battleship Benefit Ride for Fallen Soldiers. “It’s the least we can do.”
Brittan, as well as about 75 riders and their families, rode through Long Beach, Calif., to the USS Iowa to support the Wounded Warrior Project Nov. 4.
After arriving at the port, participants took a tour of the USS Iowa, organized a small “best in show” motorcycle competition, took in lunch and enjoyed music supplied by local radio station KROQ.
Local residents, veterans and active-duty service members alike showed up on their motorcycles to enjoy a warm Southern California ride to support a good cause.
“[Veterans have] done their part … they’ve done their part for this country. I think people who are in this country should do their part as well by supporting them,” said Cpl. Miguel Escobedo, a radio operator with 5th Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment and member of the Familia Social Club. “I would encourage more active-duty Marines to attend events like this.”
The event was a first for many, including the event’s coordinator, Courtney Plank of Seal Beach, Calif.
“This is my first rodeo, so I’m really excited,” said Plank, a student at California State University Long Beach. The event began as a class project that quickly gained momentum from overwhelming community support.
“I have gotten a lot of support from the community. KROQ actually volunteered to come to the event because they wanted to support our cause and give back to the community. The hotel and all of our sponsors have been so willing to be a part of this,” said Plank.
While most fundraisers are planned approximately a year in advance, Plank had less than three months to organize and rally support from the Long Beach community.
At the end of the day, Plank raised nearly $1,000 at the event and all proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.