Honorary Rider – George Gorman

“When I look at the ‘Honoring the Fallen’ POW/MIA logo alongside of the Patriot Pack’s ‘The Ride’ logo, it says so much of the men and women who participate in this cross-country journey. I think of the dedication and fortitude it takes to climb back on those bikes and complete the trip from coast to coast, year after year.

The Ride honors the bravery, courage and determination of those who had fought the great fight.

To have my daughter Jillian remembered along that way is comforting and enduring as it brings to mind why we are making this great effort; to reach out and help those during the most difficult time of their lives.

Thank you. God Bless you. Go Pack!”

Why I Ride – Kory “Mikey’s Dad” Thompson

“We all have our own reasons to join up with a group and ride or ride out on our own for Rolling Thunder. Mine are not so different from many others who choose to make the trek eastward to Washington, DC.  This will be the 5th time for me to make the run and since meeting Michael and John, as well as following their ride on social media, I’ve wanted to make the run with them alongside the ‘Pack!’

Of course I ride in support of Rolling Thunder and their attempts to keep the POW/MIA issues at the forefront. I also ride in support of all Veterans, especially those WIA/KIA who deserve so much more than we are currently providing for them; however, there is an additional reason to ride this year and that’s in support of The Jillian Fund. I always look forward to these rides and love riding with groups who put these issues above themselves.

For me, it also presents an opportunity to visit my father’s gravesite at Arlington.  As a WWII and Korean War vet, he passed this life in 1971 and is buried in section 54. To go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watch in awe the men and women with the 3rd ID watching over that Tomb is an experience everybody should see, and of course to ride down Pennsylvania Ave. while flying my son, Michael’s Honor and Remember flag from my bike as every mile of every ride is ultimately dedicated to those I love who are no longer with us.”

Why I Ride – Paul “Pauly” Miceli

“The passion that the group of people involved in the Patriot Pack and the ride in general set the standard for how people should act and do.

I am very proud to be able to be a part of the ‘Pack’ because this group of people makes you feel welcome, they care about very important causes and raise awareness for the rest of the world to take notice and action. With all the things that life throws at you, it’s so important to get up and live life to the fullest and help others while doing it. I’m just proud to contribute what I can.”

Why I Ride – Chip “Eagle” Miceli

“I enjoy riding because of the causes that this ride represents.

On one hand, you have The Jillian Fund and the remarkable work that they do for families who need some serious help.

Then there’s The Rolling Thunder who help our nation’s heroes. I personally believe our veterans get a raw deal and anything I can do to help them, I will.”

Honorary Rider – Jim D’Emidio

“First of all, I don’t ride a motorcycle with the group – I’m more of a Patriot Pack  groupie; however, Muratec America has been a sponsor of The Ride for many years with one of their first stops being in North Texas.  This year, the Muratec management team will host the Patriot Pack  for dinner when they come to visit Plano, Texas. I’ll also  be flying up to meet the Patriot Pack in Washington, DC which happens to be my hometown so I act as tour guide for the riders.

As it relates to the ride itself, there are two significant memories that I have from their trip to Washington DC:

Two years ago, I took all the Patriot Pack riders to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, VA.  It was a beautiful sunny day in Washington and the Pack was able to park their motorcycles very close to the memorial itself.  There were also another 75 to 100 other motorcyclists from Rolling Thunder visiting Iwo Jima Memorial at the time which provided a wonderful back drop having all the motorcycles and motorcyclists in their leathers. It was a very moving visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial as we took pictures with the group in their leathers in front of the Marines hoisting up the American flag during the battle of Iwo Jima. This scene of cousre inevitably became a wonderful picture and a great group photo event.

The second memory was visiting Arlington cemetery where my father, Joseph D’Emidio, a 28 year Naval Officer and Korean/Vietnam War Veteran was laid to rest. He passed away due to complications from agent orange exposure in his two tours as a Navy commanding officer of Construction Battalion 74 CB “SeaBee” in Vietnam. I took the Pack to visit his grave site in Arlington cemetery. To see the Patriot Pack around my father’s grave was a profound experience for me and the motorcycle riders.  They were riding to bring attention to The Jillian Fund and the fallen heroes of our military.  To honor my father was an emotional experience, not only for me but for my friends of the Pack as well.”

Honorary Rider – Bill McLaughlin

“It’s a true honor and privilege to have the ability to pay it forward on such an expanding and influential platform that lets people make a difference for those in need. I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to help out a very near and dear friend of mine – George Gorman – fulfill a promise to share Jillian’s story, keep her strong and youthful spirit alive, and unite families in need during some of the most difficult times.

As Chairman on The Jillian Fund Board, it’s amazing to see events rallying around the charity. The Ride that the Patriot Pack participates in every year is a wonderful example of a group of individuals coming together for a great cause and generating an enormous amount of awareness for The Jillian Fund. It’s also a great event that brings Jillian’s powerful legacy to all they meet across the country.

However, one of the most extremely gratifying things to witness and experience is the overall responsiveness from everyone – both inside and outside of the industry. The Jillian Fund has forged many great relationships just based off of a common drive to do the right thing for people. Having the Patriot Pack ride in honor of Jillian and The Jillian Fund for another year is wonderful and I look forward to and am excited about the growing support as The Jillian Fund continues to make a positive impact on those in need.”

Honorary Rider – Jim Cerkleski

“Clover has been participating in multiple ‘Give Back’ events over the course of our business existence. This particular event caught our attention a few years back when we learned about how all the members of the BTA come together to help. It’s great to be successful in business and, as you know, that takes hard work. The true answer to measuring success comes from the heart.

Our team at Clover has always been thankful for our ability to give back. We know everyone has the ability in one form or another to show an act of kindness.

Our idea to contribute the Harley each year came as the PERFECT solution since it represents multiple things: THE RIDE, THE AMERICAN DREAM, and also a way to help generate a much larger donation for the cause which in the end goes towards an amazing fundraising event that we are PROUD to be part of.”

Honorary Rider – Bill “Sidecar” Glos

“Being from the Scottsdale area, I was able to participate in the last three launch parties in MWA’s parking lot for the ride. Between the marching bands, food trucks, bike dumps and lots of Scottsdale’s finest police officers escorting the bikers on their way, it’s just an awesome experience to be had.

Due to my son’s birthday, I’ve only been able to make it to D.C. once – 2015 – and was completely amazed by it all. It all began with an extremely emotional dinner in Georgetown where George Gorman and Larry Coco had the room crying with tears of sorrow and joy. The following day was filled with tours of our nation’s monuments, including: Arlington, Iwo Jima and the National Mall. Each commemorates people who were willing to fight and die for our freedom and the country they loved.

Yet, the greatest monuments I saw were the men and women who got on their bikes and rode across the country to honor the same heroes, especially the Patriots Pack who have done it for such a worthy cause like The Jillian Fund. Luckily, I will be able to be at both events this year – the launch party in Scottsdale and the Rolling Thunder in D.C. – and I can’t wait! God bless The Pack!”

Why I Ride – Mark “Bert” Albert

“Having been in the copier industry for over 36 years, I have been blessed to
have gotten to know so many people along the way, especially Mike Stramaglio. He is a very dear friend of mine and I am thrilled to continue to be a part of the Patriots Pack and ride with a purpose!

Like many, I have a personal connection with this event as it relates to The Jillian Fund. My wife and I had just celebrated her 10th year as a cancer survivor and I am so grateful for her every single day! With this ride, I get to celebrate my wife’s triumphs while sharing the inspirational story of yet another remarkable person, Jillian, and her spirit while making a difference for those in need.

As it pertains to the ride in general, people will never understand the true closeness that riding as a ‘Pack’ for a cause can bring unless you: saddle up for 3000+ miles though rain, wind, wrong roads, days in a Harley Dealerships getting Gordito’s bike fixed, picking Slaw and his bike up off the ground, GQ’s (I Know a Guy) sauce, Lone Star’s tools and always there for you attitude and many dangerous situations we all seem to escape.”

Why I Ride – John “Papa” Brostrom

“The Patriots Pack is a special group of guys and I absolutely love participating in ‘The Ride’ with everyone. There are quite a few things that motivate me to do this every year. First and foremost – the riding!  There is no such thing as a bad reason to get out and ride. Couple this with the camaraderie of a group of like-minded individuals who are riding for a specific goal will result in pure bliss. Finally, the aforementioned ‘specific goal’ is being able to enjoy the experience while raising significant funds for such a worthy cause is just phenomenal.

Year in and year out, this group continues to do amazing things and shed light on important causes that affect many people on a national and global scale. It has been an honor to embark on this journey for the fifth consecutive year. The most encouraging thing to see is that the group has grown over the years and the impact that we have continues to make difference for those in need.”