LUBBOCK, TX - Texas Patriot Guard motorcycle riders honored a former Navy man killed in a motorcycle accident by escorting him through Lubbock, back to his hometown of Brownfield.
Richard Williford served 13 years in the Navy and was a member of the Green Knights Motorcycle Club. He was killed at 43 years old in a motorcycle accident in California earlier this month, so the Texas Patriot Guard joined Lubbock and Buffalo Springs Police to give him an honorable transport home.
Ride Captain Mike Frith said their mission is simple.
“It gives us an opportunity to show honor and respect to fallen soldiers,” he said.
When asked why they feel it is their duty to ride, members of the guard said it was like asking, “Why do you want to be an American?” They serve these fallen soldiers by providing funeral escorts, but many of them served in the military themselves.
“So we all feel a kinship to the military,” Frith said. “Sometimes we don't feel like military men get the credit that they deserve. So when they pass I just think it is a good thing that we can take a few minutes to stop and recognize what they've done in service for their country, and in service for our country”
One rider, Patrick Midkiff served for 20 years, serving two tours in Iraq. He said he is not done serving yet, and that the family of the fallen give him a reason to ride.
“The family is why we do what we do,” Midkiff said. “It brings peace to the family, but shows honor not only to the individual but to the family as well.”
Frith agreed, saying it is always emotional.
“The family members come by with tears in their eyes and shake your hand,” he said. “That is more than enough. That is more than enough for me.”
He said that a few instances stand out in his memory, like one funeral in Anton.
“A young boy about 13 years old was walking back to his car, and for whatever reason, came running up to me and threw his arms around me and was sobbing on my shoulder saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you so much for being here.’ Those kinds of things make it all worth it.”
As they drove away, anyone could see, their ride was worth it indeed.
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