Roswell’s American Legion Post 28 hosted the arrival of New Mexico American Legion Riders Monday. (Jill McLaughlin Photo)
American Legion Riders from across New Mexico rolled into Roswell’s Post 28 parking lot Monday afternoon in an effort to ferry supplies to wounded warriors.
Unfortunately, the donation-filled trailer they were escorting broke down outside of Moriarty. But, the detour didn’t stop many of them from carrying on.
“We noticed the smoke from the tire,” said Ralph Sadroe of Grants, who was taking his third trip for the New Mexico Operation Wounded Warrior ride. “It took the whole wheel off. Fortunately no one got hurt.”
Two riders returned to Moriarty with the trailers, dropped it off and will rent another trailer for the remainder of the ride to San Antonio.
Bikers from Northwest and Northeast New Mexico converge in Albuquerque then pick up riders and donations as they pass American Legion posts while riding through the state. The destination is Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where a military medicine hospital treats veterans suffering traumatic wounds received in combat.
The riders are housed for a few days and given time to visit with the patients.
“It’s a very moving experience,” said Santiago Vasquez, of Post 28. “It’s good for both of them. The veterans who’ve already experience war, they’re going over there and offering them a hand.”
The items collected included clothing the wounded veterans could wear in the hospital, like T-shirts and socks, and toothpaste or personal items.
Roswell riders met the other motorcyclists near Vaughn to escort them the rest of the way to town.
They pulled into Post 28 just before 5 p.m. to stay overnight before heading out today for another stop in Fort Stockton. After that, they will end their journey in San Antonio.
“If you’ve ever been there and seen these kids, it really breaks you’re heart,” Sadroe said. “We feel we’re really doing something.”
Financial donations are used to buy families of the patients phone cards, toys, incidentals, blankets and gift cards for local supermarkets.
“They usually come with nothing,” Sadroe said.